Say your name out loud.

Now… what thoughts just came to mind for you?

Disappointment that your mother couldn’t think outside the box of popular names for that year? Or smile inducing happiness that makes you think, “Yes. That’s my name. It’s beautiful in that it signifies all that I am. When I come to rule the world, I’ll mandate that my theocracy use it as their only mantra”? For me, personally, I get a pretty negative reaction when I hear my own name because I’ve spent enough of my life being the kind of person that makes hearing it give me a Pavlovian dread response – expecting some kind of negative string of fingerwagging to follow. Though I’m trying to be kinder these days, the association remains. And I tend to think I’m among the few, because this psych article I just read goes so far as to posit it’s the most important word in all of language. Your name. Because we’re self centered.

Maybe, though they don’t clarify it, they just mean it’s most important because it’s emotionally charged.

Even for me, with all my negative “Ugh, can you just say ‘Hey you’?” internal reactions, it’s still capable of invoking a stirring in my sentiments – deep enough to get that reaction out of me. Thus, they say, that’s enough to make it “the” most important word we hear and use for others (their name, not yours, ya selfish bastard). And if that claim doesn’t seem a bit over the top, there’s a yes-and to it. The claim? So significant is our own name to each of us, they even assert that it may help dictate what we become later in life. Not shitting you. An actual excerpt from this article in this magazine which gets published and then taken seriously by people (like me) every month:

• If your parents named you Denise, you are more likely to grow up and become a dentist than a lawyer.
• If your parents named you Harry, you are more likely to run a hardware story while your friend Rodney is more likely to do roofing.
• Chris prefers Coke to Pepsi.
• The state of Georgia has 88 percent more people named Georgia living in it than it should, based on predictions of relative proportions.

As if that’s not bad enough, there was an actual study at the State University of New York supporting it.

1.) People get actually paid to research insignificant bullshit like this?

2.) Where can I apply?

Really, though: What good can come of this information other than me getting intentionally knocked up just so that I can dub my unborn seed Luckerberg so that he’ll both win me lotteries now and then become a billionaire within a couple decades? I suppose, what the “good” could be (if we really wanted to look hard), is that it reminds us not how important our names are to us – but how others’ are to them. Sometimes I’ll avoid saying someone’s name because I’m afraid they’ll have the same reaction I do to mine. But most of the time, they don’t. Or maybe they do, who knows. All I know is that at the very least, they suddenly engage, unglazed their eyes, and pay attention to the very important message I have to issue regarding why the Half Blood Prince was better than all the others based on its superior soundtrack alone. Point: it’s a way to connect to people, rocket ’em outta mindlessness, and get ’em involved.

I mean, after all, it worked for StanKow’s bae, didn’t it?

That shit was like rats after a fccking flute tune.

“Domestic abuse shmomestic abuse… Dat chest, doe! I’mma gets mines!”

What’s more, once I hear myself utter someone else’s name, for a brief moment, I’m reminded that I’m addressing an actual human person with actual feelings and organs. And I share a whole species with them and others like them. Not just some robot sheathed in flesh who feels nothing remotely similar to what I do, which is all anyone is to me for at least the first full minute of talking to them. Somehow, when I make the effort to vocalize the label your guardians gave you, I remember that. And it helps me be a little less “let’s talk about me” for the remainder of the conversation. Which is nice ’cause then I don’t have to ask things like “are you still there?” – or when I do – be greeted by silence. And notice the call “ended” half an hour ago.

And I like to think that it helps counter what I myself became..

Presumably, thanks to my “A” name.

“I mean… Ashley. Her name’s Ashley.