Freedtopia

….it just might exist

THE HISTORY OF FREEDMAN’S NAME (i.e. MATTHEW)

Okay…full disclosure: Sitting down a moment ago to write you all a reminder for this assignment, I was struck by the realization that this blogging prompt is the only one I’ve never answered myself. Usually I get pretty excited about writing model posts for blogging prompts that I create, but I guess subconsciously I simply did not want to answer this prompt. Is my name that traumatic a topic? Is its origin, its story, something I cannot bear to hear? No it is not. That said, I don’t know how this one flew under the radar, but here it goes.

So, according to a text from my dear old mom, both my brother’s name and my name were taken from the Old Testament; my brother “David” (meaning “beloved” in Hebrew) after King David who slayed Goliath with a sling and stone, and little old me, “Matthew” (meaning “the gift of God”, also in Hebrew), after one of the 12 apostles. (By the way, my guy was a tax collector…my brother’s a warrior king – I got the coolness shaft on that one.) On top of the religious reasons (I come from a Jewish family), my brother and I were named after my parents’ friends that were killed in Vietnam. While this injects a dose of sorrow into our names, I like knowing that life, in some form, can come out of tragedy. 

So, what is my impression of my name? First off, this is completely detached from the meaning and history of my name, but I have to admit that I have a bit of a meh/hate relationship with it…or at least I used to.  When I was young I went through periods of either not caring about my name or abhorring my name, and that seemed to be the roller coaster of emotion that I was on through high school. When I was in middle school I frequently romanticized changing my name to something formidable and dramatic like Artemis or Leopold or Spike – but honesty, I probably would not have had the courage to change it back then, even if I could have.  

I think if I were to change my name at this point in my life it would just be confusing and awkward. But, if I had to – like for the witness protection program – I would definitely choose Spike. Spike Freedman! It has a comically ironic ring to it, like an 8lb chihuahua named Bonesaw.  All that said, the truth is that at 51 I have become quite resigned to the name “Matthew” – I suppose that’s why I prefer to be called “Freedman”. 

Not to use what some call “lazy logic”, but it is what it is! Matthew is my name and I’m indifferent to that reality. Sorry Mom and Dad (but you could’ve named me Spike).

FFF (Fun Final Fact). Since 1880, more than 1.6 million Americans have been given the name Matthew. That’s the population of Philadelphia…or should I say, Mattdelphia!

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