Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Middle Name Game

We've all seen this picture, haven't we? (Those of us old enough to remember this TV show remember it.  But don't ask, I'm not telling how old I am.)  For those who DON'T know, it's Billy Jo, Betty Jo and Bobby Jo, the girls from Petticoat Junction. Pretty daring picture for the 60's, eh, Bubba?  Ok, stop staring.  No, Seriously, stop staring.  

What Petticoat Junction introduced us all to, other than the idea of nekkid young women skinny dipping in the local water tower, is the habit of southerners to use a person's middle name.  In the case of the aforementioned skinny dippers, all were middle-named after their uncle Joe. Joe Carson, NMI (apparently.)  In addition, Southern young women can somehow get away with a boy's name (like Billy or Bobby) when coupled with another female sounding middle name.  It's amazing. 

Here in the south, using your middle name is just another badge of 'Southern-Ness'.  (Yes, it's a word, I just made it up.  I claim a copy right on it, too!)  The more Southern you are, the more likely you are to be known by  both your First and middle names, but socially as well as professionally.  Names like  Billy Ray, Johnny Jay, William Earl and others like it not only identify you, but it's also a way of identifying someone out of a group.  A young man named after his father may be called  Tony Ray to distinguish him from his father, who is named different like Tony James)  He could also be called Junior, Tony Jr. or even TJ. Thus is the middle name rule exception - which proves the rule.  Sort of.

Maybe it's time for me to change my name to something more Southern, but to tell the truth, nothing I make from my name sounds southern. Being that I was not named by a Southerner, guys like me were never named to be called by their middle name.  With a moniker like Douglas Marvin, you will never hear anyone calling me that (other than my mom when I was really in trouble as a kid) or even Doug Marvin, Douglas Marv, Doug Marv, DM or even Dougie Marvy (I've slapped people for that one!)  So when I hear someone called by their middle name I can recognize their Southern Roots - real or imagined. 

I guess I"m destined to just stay where I am, and not reveal my middle name to anyone.
Such is the life of a transplant.

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