My parents were going to name me after my grandfather, Victor. It’s a solid name, steeped in history and surrounded by regal virtue, but I must admit that I am thankful that my brother didn’t let them call me that. Not that I didn’t love my grandfather; quite the opposite. I just don’t imagine that Victor would have been a beneficial name growing up in south east England. It’s an unmistakably “old” name, now associated with the 40’s era.
So they let my brother name me; Grantt. I like it. It’s a reasonably rare name and I don’t often find many people with the same name. A such, I feel quite disassociated with it; I never use the name myself when I talk to others so it’s not a word that features in my vocabulary. Even sitting here now I feel curiously detached from it, like I don’t own it and it doesn’t really belong to me. I begin to wonder; who is Grantt and what is Grantt? Is it a physical thing or simply a concept?
Then my mind boggles and I need to sit down for a moment and drink a cup of tea.
But back to the point; my name is delightfully rare and made rarer by it’s spelling; the double T at its close is supposedly an attempt to ensure the pronunciation of the hard vowel at the end (if you would believe my parents). Personally, I feel that my brother probably spelt it wrong when explaining it to the nurse. Still, I am vaguely comforted by having an even number of letters in my first name. It seems right. Balanced, even.
Except when I have to register it with any known association in the world. Any new job, whenever I join a club or whenever I change dentists or doctors, I am always subjected to one of two things; either a pointed question as to whether or not I’ve spelt my own name right, or a correction made to my possible typo.
The first is simply irritating, especially when I’ve handed in a form I’ve completed.
“Do you spell your name with two T’s?”
“Actually no; I was simply testing you. Well done for noticing; here’s a gold star. May I have my driving license back now, please?”
The second is downright rude. I hate turning up to weddings to find that my name has been reduced to an uneven 5 letter word; the imbalance makes me literally tick. It contains all the assumption of the first response combined with the arrogant certainty that I have, somehow, spelt my own name wrong and it needs to be corrected.
Well, no; I am precious of my second T. I earned that letter by almost being named Victor. I earned that letter by purposefully pronouncing my name with a crisp “teh” sound at the end until I hit about fourteen years old and realised that my name is simply a legacy of my brother’s poor spelling.
But mostly that name is me. If you get the spelling wrong, then you get me wrong. I much prefer it when people ask questions rather than assume. Stop taking me at face value and look beyond what you see. Don’t just take in the small details and reach a conclusion. My name is spelt differently; it’s supposed to be.
Which really does sum up my life. I hate that first impressions are so important. We aren’t what we look like; we all have rich tapestries and histories that deserve to be explored. We should never really just catagorise people based on their looks, their gender or their sexual preference. Yes, some do meet their stereotypes, but there are always individuals with distinctly different attitudes, outlooks and paradigms. If we could all remember that (and I am just as guilty of this) then I don’t think we’d ever get bored; we’d spend all our days listening to each others life stories and ideas.
So I guess our names really do have power. Mine made me a minority, despite being a caucasian male. Mine made me different. Mine made me appreciate the difference around me. I guess that’s who Grantt is.