You just had to go there, didn’t you? It was just too tempting, huh? You couldn’t leave it alone. You…you knew….somehow you knew. Somehow you knew that ‘the name’ is a sore spot with some of us.
Some wear the names of relatives or great people in history. Me? Although not named for him, I share the first name, Donald, with one of the largest narcissistic megalomaniacs in modern history, Donald Trump. How would feel if the first thing people did upon hearing your name was to look up to check out your hairstyle? Or, wouldn’t you love it, if upon hearing your name many said, “Quack, quack?” Donald Duck is the second most famous use of my great name. Thanks, Mr. Disney.
Oh, sure, some revel in the name that they wear with great pride. I have three brothers who are named after different family members. My oldest brother, James, is named for our Dad. Next is my older brother, George, who is named after not one but two grandfathers. Even my younger brother, Shelby, was named in honor of Mom’s closest brother. My first name, Donald, was chosen not by my parents but by older sisters who were enamored with stage and movie star Rex Harrison. They insisted on my middle name of Rex and chose my first name because they thought it ‘went well’ with Rex.
So there you have it. I’m named after someone famous after all, a greatly respected actor who was knighted for his great volume of work, Sir Rex Harrison. But you didn’t ask about the middle name now did you. You only wanted to know about the first. Thank you.
To be more serious let me say I do like my name, Donald. It means ‘world ruler or leader.’ My sisters did well after all. I have had a few issues, however, with my name. Along with those already listed, I had to shorten my name to “Don” for the purposes of business years ago. Born and raised in the southeastern United States, I speak with a heavy southern drawl. In the early 1980’s I worked as production manager in a textile mill. Much of my business was conducted via telephone. Many times upon stating my name, “Donald”, in my beautiful slow southern dialect, I would be asked, “Ronald?” So came the truncating of my name to “Don.” I have been “Don” now for all purposes except business and legal purposes for thirty years.
I like “Don” possibly because it was my choice. Soon after shortening my name I also entered ministerial training. It has been easy for people to remember. Children as well as adults can easily remember and say my name. I am known as Mr. Don, Pastor Don, Brother Don, and now Papa Don. I have been teased by some friends calling me Don Juan, but no one now calls me “Duck” thinking themselves to be funny. And no one now feels compelled to check out my hair.
I am truly proud of my name now that I’m older. I proudly affix it to anything I create. I’m especially thankful that in our large family, of which I was ninth in birth order, that Mom and Dad didn’t resort as one large family did to giving numerical names. My Dad worked with a man whose actual first name was ‘Eleven.’ When my Dad asked how he came to have that name, the gentleman said, “I guess they just ran out of the names of relatives and friends by the time I came along. My mother was sick and they asked my father what name to put on the birth certificate and he said, ‘Just make it number Eleven.’”
-Donald R. Sansbury, 2013