My name is Larry. Officially I’m named Lawrence, after my mother’s father, who died in late August of 1959, slightly over two weeks before I was born. Although I never got a chance to get to know my grandfather, I grew up constantly in touch with my Uncle Larry and my cousin Larry, on my father’s side. Among my father’s relatives there have even been nine Joseph’s, and a bit too much repetition of other names too. Throughout the years, in order to differentiate from among us Larry’s, I was too often referred to as Little Larry, and even Baby Larry. My niece and nephews, knowing that my full name is Lawrence, have often asked if I have ever gotten any mileage out of that variation of my name. I remind them that under official circumstances it frequently comes up, in school, work, and anywhere else that may require me to be a bit formal. Sister Miriam Therese, of the Sisters of Charity, was my fifth grade teacher at St. Gabriel’s in East Elmhurst. It was in her class that I was first reminded constantly that my name was Lawrence. She was quite strict about each student’s always being addressed and referred to by his first name. Around the time of my twelfth birthday we moved from Jackson Heights to Lindenhurst. When kids in my new schools, Copiague Junior High School, and then Our Lady of Perpetual Help, asked me what my name was, I took a chance on introducing myself as Lawrence. The Copiague kids stuck with it for around the next three years. Somehow after that it faded away entirely. In my Catholic school, though, things were a bit different. The first kid I met there was Jerry Antonacci. He asked me my name. I introduced myself as Lawrence. He then asked if he may call me Larry. I said yes and that was the end of it. Unlike certain other names, such as Anthony, David, Michael, and Peter, the name Lawrence simply doesn’t strike people as that interesting as far as always calling somebody by his full name. I see no point in ever bothering to change it. There have been times over the course of my lifetimes when it has struck me as somewhat annoying. In general, though, it’s quite nice.
Although I’ve always had only relatively few restricti0ns on the things I consider permissible, these things tend to be quite seriously non-negotiable. Music is the most notorious example of where this snobbery comes into play. Ever since I was only a kid, I’ve always been fanatically obsessed with the Beatles and their era. Of course I can very easily be counted on to enjoy practically all kinds of music from all other time frames too. There are, however, certain very definite exceptions to this rule. I’ve never been able to stand either disco or rap. In the world of pop music in general, I have yet to find a recent style in general, or specific song, that strikes me as worth bothering with. My nephews Michael and Sam, and niece Bridget, are constantly reminding me, as people always have, of how important it supposedly is to keep an open mind. I honestly don’t care though. As far as I’m concerned, I’ve always lived in my own private exclusive little world, and always shall, and I’ve learned to make my peace with it. Somehow when it comes to musical styles other than pop, I’ve never had any trouble adjusting to new experiences. Genres such as jazz, blues, classical, among many others, have always struck me as quite interesting and enjoyable, and I’m capable of being exceptionally flexible about my listening habits. My problem only seems to exist with the kind of style which kids on a school bus are expected to enjoy. The music of the 1960’s has always been my very favorite, and I’ve always enjoyed 1970’s and 1980’s styles too. Later eras’ popular music styles, ever since sometime during the course of the 1990’s, besides disco and rap, have been the veritable bane of my existence. By now it’s even become a part of my legend. Another snobby obsession of mine is names. I grew up in, and can only handle, a world where people have nice, plain, square names. Give me a world, please, filled with people named Peter, Andrew, James, John, Ann, Margret and Theresa, rather than Garth, Brice, Dustin, Jared, Marlee, Uma and Amber any day. People who like those invented names try to defend them by saying that the old names are entirely too predictable and commonplace. What they don’t take into account is the fact that eventually these new names will become equally trite and hackneyed anyway. That’s a problem that can’t be solved. I know I shall make many enemies with this comment but I just can’t see the point of it all. Just think about it: A woman named Chelsea will have to go through the rest of her life knowing that her parents named her after a swanky neighborhood in Manhattan. A woman named Amber will have to spend all her life knowing that her parents named her after a Crayola crayon color. I shall never get used to it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FvLikiVraHE My full name is Lawrence. I was named after my mother’s father, who died a few weeks before I was born. Most people have always called me Larry, with the exception of several teachers of mine and a few other authority figures and people whom I’ve been expected to deal with under exceptionally significant official circumstances, who call me Lawrence. My last name is a fairly large Italian name and everyone always has such a hard time when he tries to learn how to pronounce it or to spell it. Although I don’t have a middle name my confirmation name is Joseph. Over the course of my lifetime I’ve been known by several nicknames. Because I grew up having to associate with an Uncle Larry Senior and a cousin Larry Junior, both older than I, we had always been big Larry, little Larry and Baby Larry. After a while I got sick and tired of being known by such a childish name. When I was a kid, my Uncle Frankie had often called me Sam Spade, after Humphrey Bogart’s character in “The Maltese Falcon”. When we bowled together with the Knights of Columbus, my cousins got into the habit of calling me B.L.T. and it’s stuck with me ever since then. I first met Kitti when we were working together at Citicorp Retail Services. Very soon after we first met she started calling me Larrabee, after Robert Karvelas’ character on the 1960′ television show “Get Smart”, so I started calling her Miz Kitti, after Amanda Blake’s character on the 1950’s and 1960’s show “Gunsmoke”. We still call each other those names on e mail messages. Unfortunately I haven’t been active in my current Knights of Columbus council, Assumpta 3987, in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, but when I was really active in my first council, O.L.P.H. 794, in Lindenhurst, New York, there were very many people there who could never remember my name. I ended up getting into the habit of answering to Joe, Tom, Frank, Bobby and several others over the course of the time I was there. Although they have a humorous colorful side names can be very important too since they deal with ontological concerns and give people a kind and degree of power over others. Because I’ve always been involved with the culture war, as a staunch conservative, I’ve always been determined to point out to people how dangerous it is to get into the habit of letting liberals determine for us how we must refer to people, things, and circumstances in general. Names must never be used, from an ideological point of view, as a means of control. He who controls someone’s identity controls his life.