M is for Me[o] and Marijuana — What’s in a Name?

Quite recently, I decided to make some drastic life changes. To commemorate such a not-so-rare alteration (inside joke, especially if you know me), I thought it fit to do something somewhat permanent — either cut my hair off (Allay your fears dearest ones, for I am not channeling the ghost of Britney-Spears-2007-era gone past) or turn my hair into dreadlocks. I thought of reaching out to a handful of my friends, who I thought could relate to my imminent sojourn; specifically to get information on resources needed. After narrowing the list to that one person, I decided to reach out. I told her I was really inclined to cutting/shaving off my hair than going for the dreadlocks, and asked her for names of places where I could get a good, decent haircut. Not that I couldn’t have obtained such info from Yelp, it’s just that not many of these barbers know how to handle our African coarse locks. Not one to leave anything to chance (no way, Jose!); I was going to go all full monty word-of-mouth on this one. Thus, enter my friend.

After the-said friend heard my request, she told me she was not going to be a party to cutting off my hair (she said something about me saving the cutting till I turned 40, yada yada yada). My comeback to that was to threaten her that hell had a special place for women who do not support other women in their life quests (yeah, haircuts totally count as a MAJOR life quest). This threat did little to dissuade her one-sided support, so I decided to reach a compromise. We agreed to exchange contact details once I had decided what I wanted to do. As it turneds out, her contact happens to share a salon space with a line-up of barbers. I really could not have painted a picture of the place before I walked in. You literally had to walk past a group of black male barbers to get to the hair stylist’s station. This is very symbolic (the walk, not the group of men, jeez!) because I get to decide whether to turn left or right — to get a haircut, or walk right ahead to get to the hairstylist. I couldn’t even make this up even if I tried.

The bulk and the narrative of this story is contingent upon the very next lines, so pay close attention, OK? (Or not #teehee).

Let’s dial it back a notch to when I was getting the stylist’s contact details and when my friend told me that the name of the stylist was Marijuana (/mer-u’waa-nu/). Yup, you heard me right the first time. I decided that I really had to meet her, if anything but to really confirm if this was her real name and not a moniker.

I met Marijuana and it really turned out to be her real name. On full display at her work station was her Texas Beautician license brandishing her first name — ‘Marijuana’ alongside her middle andlast names. Yeah, it was totally legit.

That got me thinking, what’s really in a name? Why does it seem that some parents ‘get’ it right when it comes to naming their kids, while it appears that others allow their momentary high (no pun intended) have a permanent effect on their progenies? Agreeably, one man’s fascination is another’s repellant, so it would appear that parents do have a right to go all out on what to name their kids. At what point do we have to step in as a society to revoke the naming rights of some parents? What do we have to say about parents who give their kids unusual names like ‘Pistol,’ ‘Snowy,’ ‘Lloyal (not a typo),’ ‘Charger’ ‘Forever,’ ‘Subaru,’ ‘Yankee,’ ‘Obamaniqua (Defined by Urban Dictionary as: “A ghetto-fabulous African-American that loves president Barrack Obama),’ ‘Abstinence (I am guessing this didn’t work out for the parents) ‘Like (as in Facebook Like),’ or ‘Midnight?’

I am even more curious as to how kids with such names adapt to the reality of their worlds. I actually personally know of someone who fought back. He was named ‘Baby’ and was so called by his family and friends for the longest time until he was old enough to ask them not to.

Nonetheless, I would like to say that one shouldn’t judge someone by their names, as they really had no say in the process. Marijuana turned out to be one of the best people I’ve ever met. She’s anything but what her name is associated with. My curiosity didn’t propel me enough to ask her if she ever considered changing her name.

In any event, that concludes my encounter with Marijuana. It might be the only time I would ever be close to Marijuana (the person not the drug!) Jeez, clean your mind.

What’s the most unusual name you’ve ever heard of?

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I'm ME: replete with the mien of a bard, scholar, Argonaut, Jesus-lover, funfinder, bibliophile, Koreanophile, partner, and wanderer! Podcaster:www.mosibyl.com

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