What’s In a Name?

By S. J. Brown

On the day each of us was born our parents gave us a special name they pondered over for weeks or even months. Parents have been known to name their children after friends or relatives, places, objects, and myths. Many people who aren’t fond of their given name will use their middle name or a nick name. But does it really matter?
Let’s think about this, would Hulk Hogan have been taken seriously if he used his given name Terry Jean Bollette? How popular would dear Abby’s column be if it was called Dear Pauline?

How would using the scientific name for animals change your perception of them? Isa Eutamias as cute as a chipmunk?

SJBrown Chipmunk

Could you image calling our national symbol, Haliaeetus leucocephalus ?

SJBrown Bald Eagle

How about having Meleagris gallopavo for Thanksgiving dinner?

SJBrown Turkey

Do you think you would watch a Geococcyx californianus cartoon?

SJBrown Road Runner

I am often asked about my name. Once you say it a few times it doesn’t sound odd. It is a form of my given name. Why not just use my name? It’s not a bad name, just very popular among my generation. Early in my wildlife photography career I switched to using my initials in an attempt to get my work looked at and considered for publication.

S J Brown Photo vertical

Most publishers then and several now believe a woman couldn’t get the kinds of wildlife they were looking for. The train of thought here is that only a man would get close enough to capture the a bear, or alligator photograph that would captivate their audience.

Most photo submissions are done over the internet and don’t require any real interaction between me and the publishers that purchase my work. That means the majority of publishers assume I am a man when they review my work. Yes the check is made out to MR. S. J. Brown, but the bank will cash it for me.

Have you ever considered changing your name? Has someone’s name caused you to make assumptions about them?

Thanks for stopping by

Find me on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/sj.brown.3367
My books, Close Ups and Close Encounters, All the Birds I See, Clancy’s Cat Nap. Bennie the Butterfly and two coloring books based on my images are all available through my website http://www.sjbrown.50megs.com.



5 thoughts on “What’s In a Name?

  1. Funny column about names, especially scientific names. We could take it one step further. Think about how names get used for other purposes. For example, turkey. Look at that guy… what a turkey. Or: He’s an average Joe. My middle name is Louis. My dad’s first name is Louis, so was his grandpa’s — Louis Iuppenlatz.


  2. I was to be Katherine, for my great-grandmother. At the last minute, my mother tacked on Mary, telling the nurse, “for her grandmother and her great-grandmother.” She said my grandmother, who was in the room, got all excited about it. (When my father got back from work, he said it was a fine idea.) I like it, but going by Kathy and having Mary up front on all my legal documents has been at times a pain. I’ve learned to answer to anything. I’ve switched my pen name from Kathy to M.K. to distinguish myself from the Coca-Cola CFO–she got all the first Google hits. I also got mixed up with someone else on Goodreads. I want to take my husband’s name (after 14 years) but the thought of dealing with Social Security and drivers license red tape is daunting. My dad’s name was Billie. Mother said during World War II, he received a copy of everything the government mailed to the WACs.


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