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What’s in a name?
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What’s in a name?

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By Bill Frazer

The name William (Bill) that I inherited is a well-regarded common name. Bill Nixon, who is a noted theater director, actor, and musician and whose talents I greatly envy, gives much respectability to our shared moniker. However, the name can also be interpreted as not so nice. For example, a “bill” is what is due on the first of every month. Then there is Bill Clinton and his relations with Monica Lewinsky, where he told a blatant lie on national TV to the citizens of this country. In regard to myself, Wild Bill Hickok might be a better fit or maybe Billy Goat, as I am known to be hard headed.

We all know that Bruce is a respectable name as well. Bruce Jenner won the gold medal for the decathlon in the 1976 Olympics. However, he is now all over the news for undergoing “gender reassignment” surgery and changing his name to Caitlyn. Fortunately, this does not tarnish my respect for the name Bruce because of my outstanding friends such a Bruce Beall, Bruce Eason, and the former Bruce Holzchuh.

I always thought that Jesse was a great name. But it is tarnished as well. I saw in the news the other night that Jesse Ventura, a former wrestler and governor of Minnesota, had slandered former Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL and American hero, and has sued his estate. Ex-governor Ventura has also misled the public about his role in the Vietnam War, where he was not a Navy SEAL but a frogman, part of the underwater demolition team. He never set foot in Vietnam, being based in the Philippines. Then there is Jesse Jackson, who always seems to insert himself into tenuous situations and covet the power. There is also Jesse Watters on Fox News who goes around and pokes his nose into everyone’s business. I do get a kick out of Watters’ World.

We know that most Richards (Dick) are respectable people but the name has some detractors as well. It is sometimes used in a vulgar way. Then there is Dick Nixon who also suffered national disgrace for a lie, saying that he did not have knowledge of the burglary of the opposition party’s office. On the other hand, take a look at the famous actor Dick Van Dyke. He is an icon for all of us ancient movie and black and white TV viewers. Another one is the highly respected former attorney Richard (Dick) Walton whom I played football with at LaFayette High. Dick was the LaFayette football team as he went on to Vanderbilt on an athletic scholarship.

Then there is the former President John F. (Jack) Kennedy. He was such a popular national figure that no one would openly question his integrity and publicize the truth about his extramarital affairs. The name Marilyn Monroe comes to mind along with many more. There is “Jack-the-Ripper” who certainly defames the good name. When referring to Jack, this ditty comes to mind—“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jump over the candlestick.” On the other end there are a lot of good Jacks out there such as my former friend and classmate Jack Langley. Jacks are also noted for lifting heavy loads such as “jack it up.”

Then there is John Kerry who says he took on the Viet Cong by himself. During his run for the Presidency, those who knew of the incident divulged that it was a lie. Now he flies around the world in a jet polluting the atmosphere to preach to the world on how coal is destroying the planet. The word John can also have a vulgar meaning. But, there are also many respectable Johns such as the local veterinarian and the former Probate Judge John Crowder. We also have the famous John Adams, John Hancock, John Glen and John Lennon.

So, in the future, will the name of Bill Frazer fall into the nefarious or the respectable category? If these columns don’t improve, it’s not looking good. And for a blast from the past, do you remember the ditty—“What is your name, Puddin Tame, ask me again and I will tell you the same?”