Tuesday, August 08, 2006


Tonight on my train home there was a woman with a small boy. I would guess he was about 4 or so. He had lots of energy and reminded me a bit of my cats. He would climb on the seats then toss his toy car and pounce on it. He was however, louder than the cats and just as we were pulling in to the last station he fell and hit the side of his head on a pole. He began to cry. Really cry. Wail in fact. His mother tried to soothe him and I suspect caution him about the dangers of playing on the train. The wailing was not attractive but I felt sympathetic. Not because he was hurt but because he is saddled with the unlikely name of Maximilian. What kind of thing is that to do to a child? There's only two choices. First, Max, in which case he will have to be a bartender, a bookie, or a character actor. Second Maximilian, in which case he will somehow have to acquire a title and a castle in the Bavarian Alps. Tough either way. Don't people know that names really do influence who you become? Occasionally we rise above them, as my friend Jennifer who is anything but common and ordinary. But usually we live up to our names or nicknames. And they influence the behavior of others towards us. Marion Morrison knew this and changed his name to John Wayne. Names have power.

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