These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Monday, October 16, 2006

what's in a name

ok, so i was bored sunday night and started messing around online, looking at whatever struck my fancy. it started with a quest to try and find lost friends by going to the whitepges. it turned up some possibilities.

then i decided to check my name to see if how many (joke) there would be in my state. turns out there was only me. disappointed but happy to be one of a kind up north, i got to thinking of my name.

i've always thought my name was weird. it has never rolled (no pun intended) off my tongue easily. when i pronounce it with an accent, it's not too bad. when i don't, i mumble it and i often have to repeat it, lest people think i'm raul -- which happens more frequently than i'd like. at least that's a name. i'd also get this variation that i absoluately hate. it's hard to spell out, but i'll try. it's goes something like ro-y-el (you have to say it with a spanish accent and really pronounce the "y" in the middle. i had this phys. ed. teacher and a teacher's asst. who would pronounce my name that way. don't know why.

up here, i get a lot of "roll." and that's ok. a friend at the office has gotten to calling me "rock n' roll" on occasion. so it's cool.

i've seen a dutch surname up here. it's roelofs. i suppose it sounds similar to my name minus the ofs at the end.

so, anyway, i got curious and asked geeves the origin of my name.

turns out there are two variations, french and tuch (of all things). i like the french meaning. the french meaning of my name is "rock." i dig that, man. the dutch origin is from roeland, which comes from roland. but there is no origin. don't know where it comes from.

while talking to dawn this weekend, she told me she'd seen my name onlin and that it was popular during a certain decade.

one of the web sites i went to showed my name, french meaning of rock and that it was number 969 or something in the top 1000 boy names for the 1960s. before that decade or since then my name has not cracked the top 1000 of boy names.

i missed the '60s by two years. however, my parents felt strongly enough about it to name me that also, during that time others must have felt the same way. i graduated in a class of 92. you might get two ro three johns or roberts, jims, joes in a class. but what are the chances of having more thanone roel? well, in my class there were three of us. but my name wasn't restricted to my grade. grades above me and elow me have roels in them. my brother's class, two years younger, has at least one. one of my classmates has a father named roel. so it's been around for some time.

despite some people i've spoken with up there, who hear the name for the first time who say they think it's cool, i have a hard time with it. as i said, when i roll the "r," there'sno problem. when i soften it, it's end up spilling out of my mouth in anodd manner, like i'm mush-mouth or something.


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