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A Category Four Name



The way my adoptive parents told me, before they enrolled me at Braven Boys Elementary School, was that I was found on a church doorstep one July morning. ‘The church ladies promptly cleaned you up, wrapped you up and took you to the hospital—’

‘Where they had a unit for castoffs like you.’ My new dad always told it like it was.

‘It was their obligation to register foundlings with the police and the authorities. And, of course, fill in the forms and make it official – including a name for you.’

‘Rather than go down an alphabetical list,’ Mom said, ‘or their cats’ and dogs’ names, like anybody normal, the nurses apparently liked to have a laugh. They picked first names by watching the TV, and, once they sat down, the first personal name that appeared on screen was what the baby got.’

‘It had to be on screen,’ Dad butted back in, ‘because they didn’t know how to spell some of the weird monikers they have these days. Second names, or surnames, they picked by the first place that was spelled out.

‘It happened that when they turned the TV on, it was the news – which is usually good, apparently,’ New Mom told me, ‘because they get lots of names and places straight away. The big thing on the news was this category 4 hurricane scooting round the Gulf and heading for the Louisiana coast a bit west of New Orleans.’

‘That sounds dodgy,’ I said, when they were telling me. ‘So I just avoided having a family name of New Orleans or Louisiana?’

‘You can thank the Good Scheduler in the Sky for not putting them names on the screen, eh?’ Dad laughed about that, alright. ‘What popped up on the screen was, “Hurricane latest – Barry nears land at Lafayette.” So that was agreed. To much merriment, I’m told.’

Thus, I am Barry Nearsland Lafayette. Pretty smart huh? Name fit for an artist or a movie producer, although I really want to follow Dad in the design and construction business.

I am so lucky: a week earlier, I would have been Andrea Yucatán Peninsula. One week later, I’d have been Chantal Horseshoe-Beach Florida. I don’t think I would have survived Kindergarten at Braven Boys.

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