15 April 2005

Good Deeds Are Sometimes What You Don’t Do

At lunch, my father mentioned that he’d talked to my brother. Among other things, Dad relayed my brother’s plans to send me a copy of an episode of Dr. Who I hadn’t seen.

“Start holding your breath,” Mom commented.

“Yeah, right,” I agreed. “He mentioned it a couple weeks ago in an email.” With my brother, it’s best to ignore professions of: It’s in the mail! unless it’s accompanied by a tracking number. “I suppose I should give her another try now,” I mused.

Mom knew I was referring to the sidekick in earlier episodes my niece was named after; I’d always hated that character. She was weak, out of her depths, never offered much help in the solving of any problem they encountered, and nearly always needed to be saved.

“It doesn’t mean anything,” Mom stated.

“Of course not,” I replied to assure her that this fictional persona does not diminish my affection for my niece in any way: I’m looking forward to new associations to her name. “I just wonder what possessed them to choose that name.”

As Mom pointed out that they like unusual names, I thought to myself: But everyone has associations to certain names. I was prepared to argue that it can matter a great deal what parents choose to name their children, but I kept my mouth shut. Because associations to names are largely based on the people we encounter and are therefore prone to subjectivity, I thought it made for an interesting debate, but in a moment of clarity, I recognized that my mom would not enjoy it, would not even engage in the discussion. To her, it would sound as if I was saying that she was wrong (again), and as I supported my theory, I would likely get caught up in the desire to win, so she’d probably be right in that perception.

As I read over what I’ve written, it doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment. I should be better at understanding how she views things, better at curbing commentary which unintentionally hurts her feelings, but I’m not, so this is progress.

7 comments :

  1. is there a reason you didnt' say WHICH sidekick they named her after? Was it Sarah? Teela? This is a key piece of information you've omitted.

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  2. Yes, I suppose it was out of a sense of propriety or privacy for my niece's sake but what the hell: Teagan (though on the Dr. Who site I just checked, it was spelled Tegan so maybe my niece is entirely off the hook). I rather liked Leela and next to K-9, the 1st Romana was my favorite.

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  3. that's so like him...to name his daughter after a Dr. Who character and then to spell it wrong. Even the official site spells it as Tegan (I admit I like the balanced look of it).

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  4. yeah, i conflated leela and tegan there, i realized it after I'd logged off. i actually rather liked tegan, the flight attendant--she was more of a "normal person in unbelievable circumstances" than the others. sarah was Le Worst--"Oooooh Doctor! Jamie's fallen down a hole! Oooooh Doctor! The Tardis is broken again!" My dad and i used to make merciless fun of her.

    i doubt if the internet stalkers will be able to trace teagan even with this clue. :]

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  5. Conflate- what a good word. I'd mentionned Leela to my mom when citing other unusual names, but it sounded off cuz it made me think of Leela from Futurama so I was thinking possibly Layla and had to doublecheck it myself.

    Tegan as normal person drove me nuts, but as my bro pointed out once, it was really Adric who lead her into trouble most of the time. I don't think I saw much of Sarah, but then I was little when I watched most of them.

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  6. my ex named one of his twins anakin. he and his baby momma had an unhealthy fixation on darth vader. and i shudder to think what they would have named the other twin had he not been a total surprise (and they gave him a normal name)

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  7. Anakin? Wow, even if you ignore the Darth Vader aspect, I still couldn't bear that name after seeing episode I. Maybe Chewbacca as a middle name if you wanted to go hardcore SW.

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