Monday, July 6, 2009

What's In a Name?

        Hello. My name is Jesse. But what's in a name? Would I by any other name smell as sweet? The one big downside of the name is its commonality not just among guys, but across the gender divide. This raises the question of why the name Jesse is so popular. Jesse is originally a Hebrew name meaning “God Exists”. Since most people aren't fully aware of what ancient meaning their name has I would highly doubt that this is the root of the name's popularity. Perhaps it is in the history. After all there have been many famous Jesse's throughout the ages.
        The first famous Jesse is without a doubt the biblical one and also the one from which I was named. In the bible we learn that Jesse the father of David. What the Bible fails to mention, however, is how Jesse assuredly had that fatherly trait of bragging about their kids. It is hard to be out bragged when your kid is a freaking King. While chilling with his peeps in the fields he was surely a force to be reckoned with. “Oh, your boy Paul saved your flock from a wolf? He sure is brave. Just like when my boy David, you know the King of Israel. Remember when he saved the Israelites by taking out a giant using nothing but a little stone? You must be so proud of little Paul.”
        While Jesse James was a famous outlaw and pretty much a total dick, but I would be remiss if I left him out. After all he is not only a famous Jesse, but was also weird as shit. For starters his mother's name was Zeralda. Take a moment to really appreciate just how bizarre that is. Jesse later went on to marry his first cousin Zeralda Mimms. He not only married a first cousin, but one that was named after his own mother. Again take another moment to appreciate that. As I'm sure everyone knows, he led a very successful life of crime. This life ended on April 3 in 1882 at his home. While climbing onto a chair to dust a picture he was shot in back by his partners-in-crime the Ford brothers. This prompted mother Zeralda to select an epitaph for Jesse which reads more like a passive-aggressive note than a memorial: “In loving memory of my beloved son, murdered by a traitor and coward whose name is not worthy to appear here.”
        Back to the good sort of famous. In 1935 Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith gave birth to identical twins: Elvis and Jesse. Sadly Jesse was stillborn. I'm convinced that had he survived, he would have been twice the rocker and stud that Elvis was.
        In 1936 German athletes were dominating the Olympic games and as if that wasn't enough their wins were helping to further the spread of Nazi propaganda. Enter Jesse Owens. The American, and noticeably not Aryan, went out and pissed the shit out of Hitler by winning 4 gold medals in Track and Field; effectively shoving the “superiority” of the Aryan race right up Hitler's fat ass.
        Jesse Ventura is a former Minnesota Governor, professional wrestler, Navy SEAL, actor, radio host, and probably a million other things I'm forgetting. He once asked the Dalai Lama if he had seen the movie Caddyshack. He also once said, “The will of the people is still the most powerful force in our government.” I do not care what any one thinks, personally I believe he was one of the greatest politicians I have ever seen. He understood that citizens can't just sit back and let the government do everything, he had a sense of humor, and above all he was honest.
        So don't get me wrong, I think my name is pretty cool. It's even got a "J" in it and everyone knows Js are fun letters. However, a name with such an inherently awesome nature comes with popularity and with popularity comes commonality. Throughout school I've often had other Jesses in classes. The real problems with it are caused by Women. As I have established Jesse is a man's name. There is no denying this fact. However, the country is chalk full of Jessicas. Now girls named Jessica are one thing, the real trouble comes from the inevitable nickname: Jessie. Suddenly we are over run with these female Jessies.
        Perhaps you doubt me. I'm over reacting, you think to yourself, sure there's a lot of girl's named Jessie and Jessica, but there's just as many guys named Jesse. Well you would have thought wrong. Let's look at the facts, shall we? I was born in 1987 so let's look at the Jesse/Jessica placements for +/- 4 years in order to show what I have had to put up with throughout school.


# of Jesse's Born

# of Jessica's Born




























Total # of Jesses born between 1983-1991: 74,872

Total # of Jessicas born between 1983-1991: 446,351

        This means that for every Jesse there was in school, there was probably 5 or more Jessica's. Six Jessica's with the nickname Jessie. I cannot begin to explain the personal embarrassment of hearing someone say your name, then turning around to find that they were talking to a blonde girl in a miniskirt. “Oh, you were talking to her? I thought you were complimenting me on how well my pants show off my ass. My bad.” At the end of the day I really don't blame these lovely ladies. I've known many a fantastic Jessica. I even had a big crush on one during one of my years in high school. Aside from the stray embarrassing miscommunication they have done me no harm. But you know who has done me harm? Rick Springfield.
        In case you weren't born in the 80s and have never listened to the radio ever before, Rick Springfield wrote a hit song called “Jessie's Girl”. A song that I hold largely responsible for the continual trouble I have getting people to spell my name right. I often have people asking, “ that with an I?” To which I have to try to hold back my barbed tongue, “Umm no, there's no I. I am not a woman.” Clearly the Jessie in the song is a man, “He's got himself a girl” after all, so what's the deal? From what I can gather, from the internet, Rick's inspiration for “Jessie's Girl” was his school friend Gary and Gary's girl. Not wanting to use Gary's real name, he changed it to “Jessie” after seeing the name on a softball jersey. I would have hoped that Rick would realized that softball is played by women, but I can't stay mad at Rick Springfield. Sure he has single-handedly put the masculine spelling of Jesse into question, but at least he did so in the form of a catchy tune. If you're going to cause trouble you might as well do it in song.

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