Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why does a grown man allow himself to be called Jim Bob?

When you're a child, you're given a name. Sometimes you're called that name. Sometimes yu're called by a variation of that name or by a middle name. Sometimes you're called by a nickname that has nothing at all to do with your actual legal first or middle name. When you're very young, ther's not a hell of a lot you can do about it.  our parents are going to call you what they want to call you. In most cases, refusing to answer isn't in your best interest.  If you are "fortunate" enough to have many older siblings, they, too may take liberties with your name in ways of which you ae not fond. Unless your parents wish to do something about it, or unless you're big and strong for your age, you're at a loss to do much about thatm either.

That, however, is when you are a kid. Once you grow up, you have all sorts of options. Sometimes a legal name change is in order. i knew of a uy whose parents named him "Junior;" not "William Jones, Junior" or Samuel Peckham, Junior."   Before "Junior" even graduated from college, he had turned twenty-one, saved his money, and legally changed his name to "John." I would have done the very same thing had I been he.  Another guy I knew was born with the rather unfotunate surname of "Fagg." His parents were determined to live with it, as it was their family heritage. The kid was not. He took money that was in an account intended to fund an LDS mission that fell under his own control the day he turned eighteen, and used the money to  file the paperwork  and pay the fees to legally change his surname. I believe he used his mother's maiden name, which was, I think, "Madsen." I don't know whether or not he ever made it onto his mission after raiding his mission fund to change his name, but I would have done exactly as he did, too.

So the Duggar family lives in a part of the nation where many of us from other locations consider some of their names countrified to the point of being undignified.  "Jim Bob" is one such name. I've never seen Jim Bob Duggar's birth certificate, but i'd be surprised if his legal naem were "Jim Bob," though nothing about the Duggars or anyone else on reality television should surprise me anymore. Anyway, to me it seems more likely that his name is probably something liked "James Robert." Again, I could be wrong. But even if his legal name is "Jim Bob," would any of us hold it against him either to legally change it to something both more grown-up and something more civilized, or, for that matter, simply choosing to call himself a more adult version of one of the names.  "Jim" by itself is probably fine. "Bob" by itself is OK as well. JimBob, however, reeks of unsophistication to my California-born and -bred ears. I cannot understand why a grown man would choose to call himself that or allow himself to be addressed in such a manner regardless of whether it's his legal name. He can't help it if, at family reunions, long-lost cousins approach him and call him by that name. He does not, however, have to use the name when running for state legislature.

The Duggars, on the other hand, may sit around making fun of some of the more hippie-ish California names such as Rainbow and Moon Unit, or the creative Imunique or Nevaeh.


  1. At least he doesn't call himself JohnBoy.

  2. How many of the Waltons can you name? (Iknow there were seven kids, and i do actually know their names, a fact of which I'm not particularly proud, but I won't be a spoiler.) Atleast the waltons were semi-fictional. I can't recall whether the actual book off which the series was based was a novel or an fictionalized autobiography. it was called "Spencer's Mountain," and John-Boy was Clay Boy. Elizabeth was Patty-cake. I can's remember any other Spencer names. Did Earl Hamner write it, and was it based on his own life? I need to research this, though I'm not sure why I really need to know any of this.