I came to the realization at around the age of eight or nine that I didn’t like my first name. Now in my mid-thirties, I’ve had more than enough time to overthink about it since.
My parents each had original ideas for what to name me. My mother favored Jeffrey, while my father had wanted Darryl. Eventually, they agreed on Martin based on their liking of the shortened version of Marty, which is how I was known for the first years of my life. By the second grade, some of the kids I went to school with began to call me “Marty farty,” which went on for several years. Whether it was done out of fun or malice, I never liked it. And unbeknownst to me at that age, my attempts at showing opposition towards such name calling only fanned the flames.
After turning 12, something amazing happened. We moved to a new town where no one knew me. It was a fresh start at a new school. Recognizing the opportunity, I introduced myself as Martin, hoping that would be enough to avoid a resurgence of “Marty farty.” It worked. And while I recognized that “Martin fartin” was another potential name calling opportunity, it never happened. While I was occasionally subjected to kids singing the Martin Laurence show theme song around me, that never bothered me. I was just relieved that the stink of “Marty farty” had dissipated!
In those first years after the move, anyone new I met who attempted to call me by Marty were quickly corrected. The only people who continued to call me by that name were my parents and relatives. Despite a handful of attempts to get my parents to change, it never happened. At least while I was at school, at a friend’s house, at my place of work, or anywhere else while away from home, everyone knew me as Martin.
As life carried on into college and further into adulthood, I met new people. Further removed from the trauma of “Marty farty,” I softened up and took less stock over which name someone called me. While I didn’t like the name Marty any better, I thought I could put up with it since enough people from other spans of my life still knew and identified me as Martin.
At least, that was the case for a while. At some point, my willingness to let it go slowly created a situation where more people in my adult life began to know me as Marty. How had I let that happen?
When the company I was with was sold a few years ago, I had the opportunity to move to the offices of our new parent company. With that came a fresh start where I’d be working with a new group of co-workers on a daily basis. It was the perfect opportunity to right some of my previous wrongs by making sure this circle of people would come to know me as Martin. Imagine my horror on day one at the new office to find the name Marty on both my cubicle name plate and on the company phone directory.
Since then, I have made some attempts to correct course with select people who had become accustomed to calling me Marty. There still are pockets of individuals not currently aware of my name preference, some of whom may find out when reading this post.
I’m playing the long game with this one. Being that I’m 36, I should have plenty of time, assuming things go well, to set the record straight.
The last thing I’d want is for Marty to be the name stamped on my tombstone.