On Names and Naming

As I continue my current trend of over analysis in my life and of it. I have come to a few disturbing realizations.

  1. I do not have a name:
    • At least not for myself. There is some psychological reasoning for this, I suspect that derives from the inherent idea that I am not worth a name. Yeah, that is some major crap there but it does fit.
      • Growing up I read a lot of romantic stories, not romance, romantic. The literary movement defined by larger than life characters, high adventure, formal language and fantastic settings as was common from 1820-1865.
        • Sometimes a name defined a character, sometimes the name was earned, still others the name was granted, like a knighthood.
      • I have major issues with a very abusive father, so much so that I did not want to even bear my last name, because it derived from him. I still waffle about such. I know intellectually that there is far more to the history of my surname, and that the other men who have born it in my direct ancestry have done so with humility and honour. Still a father is a father.
      • As is common in the South, I was raised to respond primarily to my middle name (Kelly) and so most of my family knows me as Kelly. However, Kelly was a very popular name in my area growing up and so there were at any given time as many as 4 other Kellys in my classes (of ~20) during elementary school. When middle school came, I saw the opportunity to correct this issue and switched over to my first name (Robert), which I continued to use for the next decade. So by the end of middle school, there were probably equal numbers of people who knew me as Robert and as Kelly. I went to one year of high-school (Jesuit of Dallas) here in the states before I moved to England in 1987. Now I was personally going by Robert, but my friends knew one another back in the states and they ultimately (through some serious coercion by Kathryn Wilson [nee Matthews]) that to ease confusion they would all call me Kelly.
      • As I moved into a professional life, I maintained the split. For work, I was Robert, for friends and family I was Kelly. To make matters worse I picked up a few nicknames along the way: The polite ones include:
        • Hungus
        • Backup
        • Genma
        • Panda (related to Genma)
        • A Gaming name I will leave be for the time for personal reasons.
      • It began to become obvious that I needed a professional moniker to write under, one of my cousins is a professor at TAMU in civil engineering and is widely read, he uses Kelly and so I obviously could not use the same, lest someone think he was writing in my subjects, or I in his. Inspired by Theologians who used their first initial and middle name, like R Scott Clark, I moved to R.Kelly Brumbelow and all was fine for a few years. Professionals could get the Robert from the R, friends and family could get the Kelly in the R. Kelly and I could be differentiated from my far more prolific cousin. Enter a rapper…
      • In 1997, R.Kelly the rapper got into some serious legal trouble and his name because more widespread in the circles in which I traveled. Publishing theological and historical subjects while having a similar name to a pedophile was not going to work at all, so I shortened my name again to R.K. Brumbelow (like R.C. Sproul). However, R.K.is a short enough moniker that people would call me that in conversation and given my tendency for the theological, historical and philosophical that lead to a new moniker RKane. (think arcane).
      • Of course Moms want to be ‘hip’ to their kids so my mother always tried to adapt to the changing names which reflects an interesting phenomenon. Each name/ moniker/ nickname all have individual similar meanings to those that call me by those names. So in a given conversation I may be referred to, by the same person (I am looking at you Jimmy) in a variety of names. Jimmy D. Wilson, for example is one of my oldest and best friends and he has in conversation referred to me as Captain Crunch, Snookums, Kelly, Hungus, Genma, and Panda all in under 10 minutes. That’s fine for he and I as he has been there for all of those names and they all invoke periods of time when things were different and he was calling on all of them as individual remembrances. S. Gus Piccolo is another person whom is a dear and old friend and he will at times do similar.
    • Sounds like I have a lot of names and Identities, isn’t that the exact opposite of not having a name?
      • Sure, but I am playing on an equivalency here. When I said I do not have a name, I mean I do not have a single specific name I think of myself as. This is problematic when I sign things today as sometimes I may write Kelly Brumbelow, sometimes I may write Robert Brumbelow, still others I may sign as RK Brumbelow or even R.Kelly Brumbelow. Same things goes for when I introduce myself. I may introduce myself as Robert, Kelly, or RK within minutes of a meeting. I simply do not have a firm enough projectional and internal identity to have a single name. Instead I grab whichever moniker is at the top of the pool at the time. It also mean I have no idea what an individual person may know me as. So I will frequently respond to any of the above names and a few others (Like James – even longer story than this one) with equal abandon.
      • Now one good thing is that when I am addressed by an old friend who has come to know all of these names and can use them freely, it is a deeper part of communication, because I know exactly wheat they are invoking and who they are addressing.
        • Call me Panda, I know you are invoking the playful, kid friendly protective black and white bear who can be extremely silly and cares only what the kids think.
        • Call me Hungus and you are invoking the very large, protective defensive, warrior aspect of my personality. I am large,unmovable, unwieldy, I am the wall that attacks will break against.
        • Call me Genma and you are addressing the potential panda, who is excellent at what he does, but can be avoidant, though firecly loyal (yes some traits exist across them all, it is often times just an issue of which one is dominant at the time)
        • Call me Ishmael and I will wonder why you are quoting Mellville and
        • Call me what you like, just never call me late for supper.