© 2024 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Perspective: Don't worry, be Wester

Acme License Maker

In the category of “Old Man Yells at Cloud,” there are things that disappoint me every year and this is one of them–the Social Security Administration’s mid-May release of its annual list of the most popular boys and girls names.

There they were–Liam, Noah, Olivia, Emma and others, with me reduced to a bitter shell of a man because my name was NOT on the list. Again.

For years, I’ve held out hope one day my name would catch on. Playgrounds would be filled with sounds of “Stay out of the dirt, Wester! Don’t hit your sister, Wester!” Greetings would be whispered on that Sunday morning in the spring— “Happy Easter, Wester.”

Making reservations would be easier and I could stop using my son’s name, which I do, ALL THE TIME. Introducing myself would no longer prompt a look of: “Wait. What? That can’t possibly be your name, could it?”

I’d finally walk into a souvenir shop and there, glowing like a lighthouse in the fog-shrouded ocean, would be a rack of keychains with “Wester” on it.

It could happen, right? Maybe there would be a surge of parents looking to name their babies after Finnish relatives.

Yet each year, the list comes out and I retreat to the peace of a quiet local pub, drowning my sorrows in Diet Mountain Dew with my favorite book at my side, a dog-eared copy of Barbara Susan Johnson’s acclaimed best-seller “I’m OK, You’re OK, Even Though YOUR Name is Really Odd.”

Until my name does show up on the list, maybe I’ll just go the route of Sting. Bono. Pele. Madonna. Beyonce. LeBron. Tiger and Taylor. They work the single-name approach. Maybe I can pull that off. Maybe.

I’m Wester. That’s really my name and that’s my Perspective.