How strange it is to me that my best friend from primary school, a boy with whom I spent nearly every weekend and school day with, is dead.
He's dead. And we two had the same name: James.
A name my father had passed down from his, and a name James' father and mother christened him with to honor some unknown beholder.
Maybe my grandfather and James were named after James the Just or James the Less of biblical fame. Maybe not, maybe they were named after James VI, King of Scots, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the guy who went on to become King of England and Ireland too as James I, who was in fact his great-great-grandfather.
But wouldn't James' non-noble kin and mine think it shitty that they weren't remembered but their leader was? Truth be told: probably not.
And really, maybe my grandfather and James were simply named, and James, as a name, would do.
And maybe we could look to Hebrew, where it means, "One who supplants." Or back to the New Testament when James was the brother of Jesus. Jesus had a brother?
Maybe, he was James.
I think Juliet Capulet had it right, or maybe it was Bill Shakespeare, when he or she asked, "What's in a name?"
some people forget their names after being hit too hard on the head.
Does that help us remember how unimportant they are?
but I tell you what,
every time I hear my name,
I hear James' too.
And sometimes I think about how fucking dead he happens to be, lying in the ground somewhere.
And sometimes I think about his father, Peter, cringing at the stinging word, "suicide."
And sometimes we forget, that all that can be in a name.
So what else lies in a name?
A baby being named?
A naming ceremony?
The sound of the universe when you were born?
"Who cares? We don't have time!"
But maybe we do and maybe we should reflect upon our names and think about our aliases and remember people we share them with:
James Morten, James Doe, James Brown, James Doe, Jamie Lee Curtis, James Doe, Jim Morrison, James Doe, Jimmy Carter, James Doe, Jimmy Neutron, James Doe, Jamie Foxx, James Doe, James Madison, James Doe, James Bond, James Doe, Jimi Hendrix, James Doe, Willam James, James Doe, Jesse James, James Doe,
and maybe we should recall that each of these James is the star of his or her own life, and we need to remember how generically different and essentially extraordinary each star shines.
And shines on, even after having died in the sky.
These are not our beautiful names.
This is not your beautiful name.
This is just fading ink and echoing sound.
Even carved in stone, your name's impression and alphabet will crumble.
Even cut out of steel, your name's letters will rust into smithereens.
And that is okay. Just try your best and remember that for that you will be sorely missed.