One day my daughter returned from school when she noticed a young lad in the parking lot of a gas station offering free kittens from a cardboard box. “This one is named…Lola,” the boy searched for a name as he cuddled one of the furry creatures. “She is so lovable and kind,” the boy continued with the smile of a salesman.
Sometimes it is difficult to find homes for unwanted animals. Expenses may include neutering, vaccines, and new furniture if it has claws. Of course my daughter perceived only a helpless Lola purring for affection.
My daughter carried the mammal home, texting that she was “bringing a surprise.” Lola came into our lives without a known father or a mother who would render kittenhood instruction. She came without food, a bed, a toy, or instruction manual. Lola did come with a wonderful bonus that I was born without- a name.
And then I wondered if my missing sister ever knew she was once called Deborah Kay. Before she disappeared, I’m certain my birthmother and other birth relatives would say, “Deborah Kay, wanna play?” Or was it felt our names were unnecessary to be preserved? Was there no attempt to record our names in the annals of history if we would be renamed anyhow?
To assimilate our world, humans must name everything. We name tropical storms. We name every insect, plant, star and constellation. However, the name Deborah Kay Price does not exist in the birth records of Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis December 6, 1955. Were my sister and I like kittens in a box? Did someone predict we would never fulfill our lives with the names we were given?
Although my birthmother referred to me as Jonathan Raymond, my original birth certificate was typed, “Infant.” Jonathan Raymond never existed, and was only an imagined character in my birthmother’s brain. I do wonder how I would have lived my name if I was addressed as Jonathan Raymond. What if my name was Artistic, Joyful, or Fabulous? Would the chapters of my life be any different if I were named Killer, Switchblade, or Shifty? And lastly, what would be my destiny if my birth certificate read, “Kitten in a Box?”
My name is Diamond Mike Watson. Sometimes I ask myself who is Diamond Mike and what the name stands for. What does Diamond Mike say or do? I can be a criminal, a dark villain, or a super hero who wears a purple cape. Since the name is partly self-proclaimed, maybe it does not matter how others perceive it. What does matter is that we must first define ourselves, then live our lives according to our definition.
But we must have a name.