When I was born, Larry was a fairly popular name. It was the 38th most chosen name for boys born that year in the United States.
By 2009 it had dropped down to 385thplace.
That’s understandable. After all, it seems like whenever a Larry shows up in a movie or TV show these days, he’s somebody’s lazy, womanizing, beer-guzzling brother-in-law who is out of work and needs a place to stay for a few weeks. Not exactly a character you’d want to share a moniker with.
Today’s names seem to be a lot different than the ones that they handed out when I was a kid. When I was born the popular boy names were traditional and safe, like Michael, David, James and John. A lot of today’s seem to be one-syllable words that are both noun and verb: Chase, Gage, Grant, Chance, Cash, Drew, Lance, Pierce…you get the idea.
Back in Biblical times, names were very important and full of meaning. Sometimes people’s names were even changed by God to reflect their situation. Abram became Abraham, or “father of many”. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel, meaning “he struggles with God”. Simon became Peter, or “rock”. Saul became Paul. Naomi, “pleasant”, changed her own name to Mara, “bitter”.
Though it’s almost impossible to say it in a way that sounds suave and alluring, I’ve grown attached to my name, and plan to keep it. Larry comes from “laurel”, which I’ve been told was “conferred as a mark of honor in ancient times upon poets, heroes, and victors in athletic contests”. Not too shabby.
But if I were ever forced to pick another name for myself, I think it would be Ian (meaning “gift from God”). Not that I think I’m God’s gift…it’s just that any Ian I’ve ever known has been really cool. When I think of a name, often images pop up of people I’ve known that share it. Sometimes it can make or break the name for me.
Oh, and in the unlikely event that I become a world famous hip hop artist? Just call me Cool Cool LJ.
How about you?
What does your name mean?
If you were asked to pick another name, what would it be? Why?