Middle names are intriguing to me. They are something we receive at the beginning of life that can be a source of pride, a part of our identity. A middle name can also be somewhat of a dirty, little secret, something that is begrudgingly muttered when forced to admit it. I’ve never been extremely attached to my middle name, though it’s thankfully not a source of great embarrassment for me either. It is what it is (and it’s also not something I feel like sharing right now).
There’s something else a middle name can be; a gift we sometimes have the rare opportunity to bestow on someone. A token, a title, something that we hope will be worn with confidence, something that will give identity to the recipient. It’s a huge responsibility to choose something that will typically be carried with a person for life, a decision that should never be taken lightly. Fortunately, in the few times I’ve had the honor of being the giver of a name, I can say I still have no regrets in my decisions.
I felt extremely ridiculous earlier, finding my pride greatly reduced, even though no one was present to witness my foolishness. It was a moment when I felt shame as I hadn’t felt in years.
What was I thinking?! were the words that were running through my mind, in my moment of absurdity. I’ll explain…
I had glanced into the living room surprised to find my dog happily shredding a blanket. He was in the process of removing all of the batting and spreading it across the carpet. Technically, it wasn’t surprising to see him do such a thing, this wasn’t the first time, probably wont be the last. I was mostly startled by the fact that he was actually awake. The dog is lazy. Typically, when I find him doing something like this, I quickly tell him to quit biting his bed/blanket/toy/etc. His normal reaction is to instantly stop shredding and start licking whatever item he’d been hell-bent on destroying only moments earlier.
But this time, seeing how much damage he’d already inflicted and how happily he was continuing, I knew I’d need to do something a bit different to get him to quit. This situation was going to require a raised voice and a firm command. That might not sound like much of a threat, but if there’s one thing to know about Boston Terriers, it’s that they’re extremely sensitive to a person’s tone of voice.
“Mojo Tyson! Quit biting the blanket!” I scolded him.
He instantly quit annihilating the blanket, and stood looking at me, waiting for my next move.
There wouldn’t be a next move, because in that moment I couldn’t believe I’d just reprimanded my dog as I would a child, using the ever-tiresome-middle-name-for-emphasis technique.
Even worse, I couldn’t believe that I’d actually given my dog a middle name.
Although, in my defense, his middle name is a gift he’s earned, a name we gave him after having him for a few months. See, Mojo in all of his playfulness has an affinity for ears. There’s nothing he’d love more than to chew on your ear, never in malice, always in play. Something I’m truly not a fan of (read: Hate), and a habit he’s mostly been broken of, (thankfully!). I couldn’t help it, but from early on, his ear biting tendencies made me think of Mike Tyson and his gloriously unforgettable ear biting moments in the arena with Evander Holyfield.
Ergo, Mojo became Mojo Tyson, an all too appropriate title.
And in giving him an additional name, I became one of those people, one of those people who gives their pets middle names. One of those people who use their pet’s middle name to call them to attention from bad behavior.
I’m so embarrassed I’ve become this person.
It’s mortifying, a source of remorse and the main reason I continually question myself. Maybe someday the internal harassment will stop, but until that day of freedom, I don’t know if I’ll be able to resist questioning my sanity or stop wondering if there’s an answer to my constant inquiry…
Jaklyn Krystal, what were you thinking?!
Do you mutter your middle name or share it with pride? Ever give a pet a middle name?