Is my First Name not Enough?

Updated on January 18, 2018
kenneth avery profile image

Kenneth is a natural-born southerner and grew up his entire life in the south where he has resided now for 63 years in Hamilton, Al.,

Truth be Told

I don't mean to be rash, rude, or coarse. Not even boorish. And certainly not living on OCD. I am just a guy. An average American guy who is a retired private citizen striving to be as obscure as one human possibly can. So you should understand the narrative I am presenting below. Thanks, Kenneth.


"Hey, Wilks! Your chute isn't packed!"
"Hey, Wilks! Your chute isn't packed!" | Source

When I was first introduced to the noun, "Hell," it was from my mother, who did a swell job of teaching me about the two locations that our souls will reach. One is Heaven, if that soul has followed The Lord's footsteps and grew to know Him in a closer, daily basis and the other of course, is Hell. In my older years I learned that Hell is a Hebrew word, "Sheol," meaning, "the grave." But when you are five-years-old sitting on a wooden pew hearing an older man talking loud about "going to Hell," you suddenly start feeling fear creep upon your back and become afraid to look around.

Then when I did more Biblical studying, I found out that the one place we should do everything we can to avoid is: The Lake of Fire – it's as horrible as the title indicates. I won't get into the various arguments of "Pro" and "Con" of Lake of Fire because I don't argue with people. I just do not have time.

The aforementioned event was a true event held on one sunny summer morning circa 1961, when my mom and dad carried me to a little church and it was there where I heard my first preacher doing a good job of preaching God's Word. Speaking truthfully here, this man scared the living daylights out of me. But as he finished his fire and brimstone message he confused me by saying, "this sermon was all in LOVE!" I knew better than to ask my mom why I suddenly felt stupid. First I get told to get sin out of my life (and me only five) and if I didn't, I would end up in Hell and then hear that this preacher who spoke so sharply LOVED me.

At that time, I could only find resolve by thinking to myself that all of the time when Jesus walked the earth, He raised his voice twice: once when he cleansed the temple of money-changers and again when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Not at any time when He taught in the temples and synagogues did he pound his fist against the furniture and shout in the faces of those in attendance. I am not that preacher's judge or anyone ease's judge, so I will leave this alone for now.

Now that I am 64, (what? No party, Paul McCartney?) and someone on TV speaks something about Hell, I chuckle to myself, but not (at) the person speaking. They are, I guess, talking about Satan dressed in black with fiery eyeballs scorching poor sinners who rejected God. And when Satan gets bored of punishing people, he unleashes huge alligator-looking beasts with big, sharp teeth to bite the poor people's scorched butts and Satan, who is smoking a cigarette (pun intended) and laughing like there is no tomorrow – and really, there's not.

Would you really want to spend Eternity in a place so awful? No. And no sensible person would. What I am leading up to is another thing that I used to encounter when I was out in the public and sometimes in the church where my wife and I worshiped. I would be talking to a friend and I would overhear another person say hello to another man by calling out the man's LAST name. Kinda like in the Armed Forces. In fact, to prove this point, I saw a lot of War movies on the TV package that I once had and each War film I watched, the star, John Wayne, who was always a Colonel, Major or someone in charge, would say: "Hey, Shavers! Get the lead out! We got a job to do, so you and Johnson there, get the lead out, and shake a leg!" I never heard so many euphemisms in one sentence! The get the lead out, shake a leg, and we got a job to do was fine and I absorbed that, but NOT the men being called by their last names.

To me, that was then, and is now, just stupid as stupid can be. Pardon me for the straight-forward approach to this ignorant custom, "Hey, Nichols! How's tricks?" There it goes again! A man's last name followed by an ignorant euphemism. It never stops--and just keeps on going like the argument between Zin Buddhists who teach that Life is but a Perfect Circle and when we die, we arrive in another ring or area in The Biggest, Most-Enlightened Area of the Circle. Please, Elton John. Don't start up on me here.

What if, and I am almost angry here, (could be the coffee), husbands referred to their lovely wives as: Avery? My wife's last name. But if I really wanted to get her ire up, all I would have to do is say: Hi, Avery! How's tricks? Then she would kill me for even implying that her character is shady and promiscuous. So when any of you want to visit me, you are welcome. I will provide you some coffee, homemade teacakes (that Pam makes), but I will be doggones if I say, Avery, please refresh our guests' coffee. Instead, I might say, "hello, HubPages guests. This is my lovely wife, Pam." Neat, huh? And correct.

But back to the using men's last names for a minute or two, I can really believe that when our soldiers fought in all of our country's wars, the soldiers' leaders had to instill a hardness of the men's hearts in order to keep them from breaking-up in battle. So a tough, Hey, Andrews! Are you a jackass or something? Get that fuel loaded to the B-29, might have been the reason men got used to calling other men by LAST names.

I can be as tolerant as Fred MacMurray's role, "Stephen Douglas," of "My Three Sons," when I watch in-field sports reporters who cover important games and interview the winning team's locker room – the Hey, Stricklin, Dunway, and Darway! Nice teamwork! I said I "can" be tolerant of that sort of using a man's last name.

But in daily life? Not on your Aunt Bess' Cadillac sitting up on blocks. I am not about to jump on the "Using Men's Last Name Bandwagon," so stop wondering, I ain't going that route. Please! No more, Look out, Brewster! That guy has a gun! The people who are strangling the Grammatical Base of America are playing with fire, my friends. The awful day will come, and God forbid, one day in the cashier's line at a bank, one of "these" people who demand the usage of a man's Last name be used everywhere, will say, Watch out, Denver! That guy has a knife! And the guy named Denver Denver will be severely injured--and no. Denver Denver will not have to go to court to agree to having his name changed. This is a Free Country, the last I checked!

I may be trying to fight the air we breathe and lose in my presentation of this topic. Me losing is not a new thing for me in the least. But if something is not done about the Past Middle-aged Guys riding the Testosterone Train will one day, God forbid, die and when he gets to the Pearly Gates and begins to walk inside Heaven, he will see Our Savior, God's only son walking by and this man will have such Kahunas to say, "Hey, Christ! Come over here! Shake a leg! And shake my hand!"

I don't think so. Not now. Not then. Not ever.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Kenneth Avery

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      • rdsparrowriter profile image

        rdsparrowriter 

        4 months ago

        Interesting to read all the stories you write :)

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hey, ThreeKeys -- I sincerely Appreciate you and your very kind words. I have never thought about compiling the "tales" about my younger life. But I WILL put it to some serious thought. Thanks so much. Write me anytime.

      • kenneth avery profile imageAUTHOR

        Kenneth Avery 

        5 months ago from Hamilton, Alabama

        Hi, Jennifer -- thank you for both, the nice words that you gave me, and making me so happy and two, your wonderful I.Q. and sharing the various titles about names. I mean it.

        Please have a safe day and write me anytime.

      • Jennifer Mugrage profile image

        Jennifer Mugrage 

        5 months ago from Columbus, Ohio

        I like how, at the end of the Hub, you bring the theme around full circle from last names to where we spend eternity.

        I believe this use of last names things is a cultural phenomenon. It's used in cultures that have a higher "power distance" - are more hierarchical, less egalitarian.

        For example, in the Narnia books, Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole spend most of their adventure calling each other "Scrubb" and "Pole," because that's how it's done at their public school. When they switch to first names, it's a sign that they have become truly close.

        Also, I believe that in Germany, people can know each other for years and still be using "Herr" and "Frau." When they start using first names and using the pronoun "du" instead of "Sie" for "you," it's a big moment. Like being promoted from acquaintance to friend.

        Of course you would not use a last name with your wife. You gave her that last name in the first place, so how dumb is that? She might think you were talking to yourself!

        You are from the South, where I believe it at least used to be the custom to use "Mister" or "Miss" before someone's first name, so as to avoid the shocking familiarity of kids just calling an adult by their first name. Amirite?

      • profile image

        Threekeys 

        5 months ago

        You have much to say Kenneth. I hope you are going to compile these short stories into a book. Or, if not, you have a volume within you to tell. Start writing!

        I dont know how you do it?!

      working

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