Thoughts on being a Junior

All my life, I’ve hated the fact that I’m a Junior. So much so that I’ve gone to great lengths to cover it up it. I rarely, if ever, use it in everyday life. The only places a person could go to see it are my driver’s license and my educational degrees. Those seem like they’re important enough to carry my full moniker. But in my everyday life, it’s as scarce as can be.

Whenever a man sires a child and then hangs around long enough to see it enter the world, he at least thinks about naming it after himself. It seems both a natural and an exceedingly vainglorious thing to do. The overwhelming majority of males won’t have bridges or buildings to carry our names into eternity, but at least we can hang them on to those that are too young to either understand or object.

In the Irish tradition, which I learned about as the descendant of at least one large Irish family myself, a male has to wait until the third male child before he can bestow his own name upon his progeny. The first born male is to be named for the man’s father, the second for his wife’s father (never mind that she actually does the work of bearing the children) and then it’s Juniortime. Although I’m not clear on whether or not the sobriquet ”Junior” is actually bestowed upon that youngster.

In some cases, a person who is named for his father is called “the second” and referred to as II. Or sometimes a Junior decides that he doesn’t hate the idea so much and makes his son into a “third.” Once you’ve gone into multiple generations like this, it’s almost like the saying “in for a penny, in for a pound.” (It must be old, if it relates to British currency. Or maybe it stowed away on some transatlantic journey once.)

What goes through a person’s mind during the naming process?  Every person has a different approach to it, but I will suggest that at least some thought and deliberation likely goes into every decision. After all, the name that gets chosen will follow the child around to their grave, whether they like it or not.

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