Did I Ever Tell You?
Every year on my birthday, my Mom calls me first thing in the morning and asks the same question: "Did I ever tell you about the little boy that came to live with us __ (fill in the blank) years ago?". When I was young, she would wake me up on my birthday and ask the same question. Back then I use to wonder who that other little boy was that used to live with us. As I got older, I realized that she was talking about me. But the "came to live with us" part always through me for a loop- was I adopted or something? Was I a homeless child that stumbled across her doorstep and was taken in? My brother's names both started with "J", mine started with "B". My older brother was named after my father. My younger brother was named after both sets of grandfathers. I was named after no one. Proof positive that I was adopted, in my mind. My name didn't "fit" with the names of my siblings. I lived under the delusion that I was adopted for most of my life- always wondered why they just wouldn't come out and admit it. It turns out, that I was wrong. I really am the spawn of my mother after all- I wasn't an infantile vagabond crawling around with a napsack, looking for someone to take me in. That came later in life!
The story of my birth and explanation of my name:
I was born on December 14th, 1965 at 7:34pm. The news of my impending birth was spread amongst all of my relatives, and they all rushed to the hospital to witness my debute. Being Christmas time, most of the relatives had to leave a party to get to the hospital, and most of them were drunk (or at least buzzed) when they arrived. My future grandparents, Aunts and Uncles sat in the waiting room, drinking coffee and trying to sober up. I'm sure that at least one of them had a flask and continued to party as my little head was beginning to crown! Soon the nurse came out and announced to the family and my father that "It's a boy!!". Then it happened. There was an announcement and my name was said outloud, in public, for the first time: Brian Christopher Burnett. The oohs and aahs were replaced by sneers and jeers from the drunken masses. If there had been a tomatoe nearby, they would've thrown it. " 'Brian'... we don't know anyone named 'Brian'. What's wrong with the name 'Ernest Monroe' " (asked my grandfather, whose name happened to be Ernest Monroe). "The only 'Christopher' I've ever heard of was Columbus" (said my grandmother, coldly). My other grandmother misunderstood and thought my middle name was Chrysler and commented that it's strange to name someone after a car. (Sidenote: til the day she died, my grandmother still believed that Chrysler was my middle name.)
Mom had been forced to name her first son after her husband and she wanted to come up with a unique name for me- something outside of the family boundaries, and she did. She played it safe when her next child was born-- he got named after relatives on both sides of the family, including "Ernest" as his middle name.