First the disclaimer. Realizing it had been far too long since I wrote anything of substance out here – and not ready to hand over this site to the public domain (no doubt that Eds – McMahon, Asner and Helms are just chomping at the bit for this URL) – I decided to kick-start my creative thought by throwing down a little challenge to myself. In 2014, I aim to try 12 new things and Blog all about it.
With #11 we get a little personal.
So, this is probably going to feel like a cop-out. I’m not leaping from a plane this month, after all. Of course, there is the swirling, twirling Polar Vortex to worry about so the Point Break shenanigans will have to wait for the Vernal Equinox – or you know – never.
But this is actually quite meaningful even if it doesn’t mean anything to anyone else looking in. Well, here goes.
On February 27, 2014 – for the first time ever – I granted lifetime exclusive rights to 5 friends to call me Eddie in public or private until my dying day. Heck – if they somehow find themselves granted the privilege of chiseling my tombstone, I’ll let them toss it on there in honor of me. Then I’ll come back and haunt them to the ends of the Earth.
So, I started life as Eddie – well, technically Edward. Edward William to be exact.
The William was in tribute to my godfather and Uncle, Bill – my Dad’s brother.
With Edward, I became the third male Humphries to grab that moniker. It began with my grandfather – who was born in Newfoundland. While his birth name was Edward, I knew him as Grandpa Ned. Then there is my Dad, Ned’s son, who was also bequeathed Edward. He passed it down the line to me. If there is one trait common among the Humphries males it is the inability to think outside the box.
Now, I’m not a Third or a Junior – as we all have different middle names. That spared me the nickname EJ – which in retrospect might have been a decent way to ward off the inevitable “Hump-for-Free” that quickly became a schoolyard taunt – and later, a promise. You hear that ladies!!! 😉
Almost immediately my family took to calling me Eddie as a way to differentiate between my Dad and I. After all – at that early age – with me a baby and he in his twenties – we both rocked bald heads way before Blue Man Group would make it a lifestyle choice. So, since the time I could talk – I self-identified as Eddie.
Somewhere around middle school – and pretty early in – I decided I wanted to be called Ed. I can’t pinpoint the exact beginning BUT I know my 6th Grade Homeroom teacher called me Ed. In fairly quick fashion, my fellow students took to calling me the same. Well, most of ’em. The girls found it a hard habit to break and to this very day, there are a few who I keep connected to on Facebook that hide behind old habits dying hard.
That said, I’m actually OK with some people calling me Eddie. I’m not drawing the line across genders either… although I can only think of a couple males who toss it out (more on that in a moment). There are a few females who say it – and when I hear it – I respond. It just sounds so sweet not to.
So, right around early middle school, as I stated to get phone calls from classmates more than I used to – I learned quickly that if a phone rang in the Days Before Caller ID, I needed to sprint to answer it before my sisters did. If not, we might get an exchange like this:
Pre-pubescent Male Friend: (in high falsetto) Ummmmm… Hello? Ummmm… Is like… Ed home?
My Sister: Do you want Big Ed or Little Eddie?
Yeah… Some squeaky-voiced punk is calling for Dad to see if he wants to come over and play Zelda. And we’re not calling the authorities, WHY?!?!?!?
My reward for that oft-heard exchange – a little singsongy reprise of “Little Eddddddiiiiiieeeeee” whenever I walked down the school halls. Hey, it took their mind off “Hump-for-Free” or my ginormous nose so there’s that, I guess.
See – my family refused to let the name die. In the early days, I didn’t think too much of it. It was a habit and would be tough to break but eventually they would cotton to what everyone else had already adopted. Heck – my grandparents, almost all of them – took to calling me Ed when talking with me (even if behind my back, I know they referred to me as Eddie with other family members).
Flash-forward several years later – mid college – and almost everyone I’ve met from graduation on just knows me as Ed. They’ve never encountered anyone who has called me Eddie so with my introduction, that’s all they have to go on. They trusted in me to tell them my name. It’s sort of the base tenet of friendship.
At the time, I was working at Papa Gino’s in Weymouth; most nights manning the grill.
At least once every couple of weeks, my Mom would call into our delivery line looking to see if I could bring something home or just ask a question. Since I was behind the grill and not manning the phones, there was no way for me to intercept these calls meaning at least twice a month, I was startled by one of my fellow female workers with that lilting refrain – “Edddiiiiieeeeee…. Your Mommyyyyyyy is on the phone.”
I think that’s around the time I took to asking her to drop a syllable from my name whenever she asked what I wanted for Christmas. I never got it. And THAT’S when I stopped believing in Santa.
At least I could hold tight to my friends, who were always good for a “Yo, Ed” whenever I needed a boost. Well, most of ’em – for somewhere – and real close to me – a backstabbing Brutus lurked.
See, my BFF Sean has been in the picture since I was 14. He met me as Ed. He’s called me Ed, introduced me as Ed, told me to “F Off” as Ed. Suffice to say, Sean and Ed are tight. But, over the years, he has been integrated into the family and in that time he has developed a bad little habit. When we’re together with our friends, I’m Ed. When he’s around my family – the dude jumps the fence, “drinks the Kool-Aid” and joins them. At many a Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve heard him in the kitchen, relaying information to the host/hostess.
Sean: And Eddie will have…
Et tu OB!!!
So, they’ve beaten me down. I’ve decided to stop fighting the family over my exclusive naming rights and to just co-exist with two separate and distinct monikers. In addition, as something new for 2014 – I offered up the privilege to 5 new people (and only five) to refer to me as Eddie from here on out.
One got it because she and I became best friends at the tender age of six. There’s a lot of great history compressed in a few short years at the beginning of our lives. So, that was a no-brainer. I granted it to another girl I grew up with because I think it sounds sweet coming from her. In fact, most unrelated girls can get away with it. That’s my Achilles.
Then there is a girl I went to college with but never really crossed-paths UNTIL Facebook and this Blog shrunk the world. She got it because she promised to tag “Baby” at the end of “Eddie” and that seems like the type of thing a guy named Ed would want to hear. I gave it to the director of The Monkeybar Mafia because I had a feeling he would use it for nefarious Photoshopped purposes and I was NOT wrong (hence the photo above). Hey, I’m always on the lookout for a new profile pic. Finally, one guy offered up bacon so you know – of course he got it.
Ed. Eddie. Seriously – what’s in a name?
I’d much rather focus on what’s in a life. And so far, Eddie has been livin’ large.