Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Indian Names

I grew up going to a girls' camp every summer in the mountains of North Carolina. All of our villages had indian names: Chippewa, Chickasaw, Cheyenne, you get the idea. Our "brother camp" over on the other side of the interstate was much more into the indian thing (and still is). They didn't have girlie villages, they had tribes. And they didn't have a sissy "Council of Progress" every week, they had "Council Ring" where the great Wokonda (Wukunda? Wakunda? you know who I mean -- the big chief in the sky) brought fire down and started the huge fire with no human assistance. And when you reached a particular age and level at Council Ring, you could be tapped out for an all-night test, and if you passed, you became a Little Chief. And once you became a Little Chief, you got an indian name.

As a girl, the only way you could get an indian name was to be on staff at boys' camp. The hard thing about indian names at camp is that they usually revealed what the rest of the staff (or at least the select few who get to come up with the names) thought about you. They could basically come up with an animal and a charachter trait and peg you with a label that, so long as you worked at that camp, would haunt you forever. Some people got great names: Playful Possum, Curly Catfish, Affable Azinger, Hiccuping Hyena.

When I was in college, I worked at a similar camp for boys for three or four summers, and I got an indian name: Frolicking Flamingo. I was "frolicking" because my first summer at camp, I dated at least four different staffers in the 9 weeks we were there (can you blame me? 35 guys to 5 girls really cuts down on the competition for a girl with a hook nose!). I was "flamingo" because, well, I had that hook nose (fixed a year later, thanks to the marvel of rhinoplasty). So the naming committee pretty much saw me as a flirt with a big nose. Hmm.

So when I was naming this Blog, I had to pick a name and it may come as no surprise to you that all the ones I wanted were taken: Note to Self, Hope Springs Eternal, Derfwad Manor (okay I knew that one was taken, but it's a good name) . . . you know, names that make me seem smart, witty, or like someone who has a mildly sarcastic, yet positive outlook on life. Once I ran out of those names, I started thinking about how other people would describe me and the only name that popped into my mind at that point was a name I don't think describes me at all, at least anymore -- but there are days in my life as an adult when I wish I was still a 19 year old "Frolicking Flamingo." Please, most days I wish I had half a frolick left in me -- seems like I need to recapture a sense of frolick. That, and it's a fun word: frolick frolick frolick. Not used much in everyday speech. We should all try to use it tomorrow at work.

Let the frolicking begin.

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