I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my name all my life. On the downside, it rhymes with too many childish taunt words — grody, toady, commode-y. And it is for some reason easily mangled. From the misheard — Cory, Tony — to the misspelled — Coty, Kody, Codi — to the downright inexplicable — Koadie, Coatie (Honest, people have spelled my name like this).
But growing up I shared my name with relatively cool namesakes. Buffalo Bill Cody was the most common and he was cool because he carried a gun and shot buffalos and bad guys. I bet they didn’t dare rhyme Buffalo Bill’s name with “commode-y.” There was Commander Cody — a bit hipper reference — and, though I didn’t know who he was as a kid, he was a Commander so there couldn’t be too much shame in that.
And I shared my name with my Uncle Cody who, until I reached my current size, was known at family gatherings as “Big Cody.” (I was “Little Cody.” Really.) He was that cool uncle everyone has who gets to be a little bohemian and irresponsible because he doesn’t have kids of his own to be responsible for. He directs plays and acts in Renaissance Faires and folds paper flowers while telling funny stories and all us kids (there are about 87 in the Clark family) loved him. So he was a cool one to share a name with.
But now I’m growing a little disillusioned with my name. It feels like the phrases “Don’t go there” and “You go girl” — a bit past the curve. What with all the little Codys running around out there, child naming fashion has “lapped” me and my name has become faux-trendy again. My name has become a little boy’s name. My name has become younger than me.
And with all these little whippersnappers named Cody running about, I’ve lost the best thing about having my name. Used to be if I heard someone call out “Cody!” I knew it was for me. I grew up being the only Cody within earshot most of my life.
Maybe that’s it. Maybe I just don’t like to share.
My brother changed his name early in life. He got out just in time. He went from his middle name, Kerry, (Which he judged to be too feminine. Go figure.) to his first name, David. I tried on my first name when I was a kid too. I spent one afternoon where I wouldn’t respond to anyone unless they called me “Bob.” (Robert seemed too stuffy.) It was a lonely afternoon. Most of my conversations went along the “I’m not Cody. I’m Bob.” lines. I gave it up. I didn’t have the determination my brother Kerry (hah!) had.
But at this point in my life I could not think of changing my name. It’s a branding thing. Just as Kleenex could never change its brand name and get it to stick, I’m a Cody no matter what I call myself.