Friday, March 14, 2014

Magic and Candy

On the way back from the mall today, I stopped by a gas station to pick up some tortilla chips. I've had this avacado sitting on the the counter for the last week just begging to become guacamole. When I took them up to the front, I noticed the cashier had the word MAGIC stitched into his shirt in the spot where names usually go.
Me: Is that really your name? Magic?
Magic: Yeah, it's my name.
Me: Is it the one you were born with or one you chose for yourself?
Magic: My name's Dave Magic, but there are enough Dave's in the word, and that's what I've always gone by.
Me: Do you know any other Magics?
Magic: Not personally, but there's always Magic Johnson.
I wanted to ask more. What was his mom's thought process? Do his brothers and sisters have cool names? Does he get teased for it? Does he go by Dave in serious situations, like job applications? But even though he was good natured about it I felt like I'd already invaded his privacy.
In ninth grade, my friend Camille and I interviewed applicants for our school newspaper. One of the seventh graders who wanted in was named Candide. When I read off her name, she told me, "I go by Candy." Camille asked, "If you could chose one candy to be associated with her name what would it be?"
"Reese's Peanut Butter Cups," she said without hesitation.
Her speed and confidence impressed me. She probably gets "What's your favorite candy?" all the time but Camille went for a more confusing angle. I gave her a higher score than any of the other applicants. Over the next week, I kept asking our teacher if Candy had made it on. It wasn't her name that caught my intention but her reaction to it.
I've always pitied infants who get saddled with cutesy names, like Rainbow or Bunny. If you're searching for a lawyer, discover Bunny Bates and Brenda Brown are equally qualified, who do you want defending your case? But maybe a name doesn't mean so much after all. Yes, it's the first thing people will learn when they meet you-or even before-but you can twist it any way you like.


  1. I hate cutesy names. Grown men should not be called "Bobby". I knew a family that named their children Ford, Chevy, Mercedes, and Porsche. By themselves, any of those names are fine but not all together in one family. I would never hire a lawyer named Bunny. On the other hand, when people hear my name but haven't met me, they tend to picture a big black woman. Like it or not, people make instant judgments based on names.

    1. The first time I heard your name, I thought of the guy who kills Rue in Hunger Games.