What’s in a name?

My given name is L.V. Not a normal name by any stretch of the imagination and like the character from the show M*A*S*H, Capt. B.J. Hunnicut, it constantly raises the question “what does it stand for?”

There are many folks who have only initials for a name, Harry S. Truman, J R Cash (also known as Johnny Cash) are but a few.

Well in my case, unlike the fictional army surgeon, I was named after my father, “L.V., Sr.” so therefore I carry the appendage of Jr. after my name. But when asked what it stands for, I usually say that I was named after my father and that closes the question. Some persist and on and on it goes. I mean, really? Is it that earth-shattering to need to know the meaning and possibly be searching for a hidden meaning – which raises many questions in my mind about their motivation for persisting.

I have learned over the years to re-direct or defuse the questioner, or even rattle off something like “Call me LV, JV, RC or RV but don’t call me late for supper” which usually get a chuckle and allows the conversation to take another branch.

I retrospect, what was a millstone in my youth has proven to have several real advantages. Phone rings and the caller asks for ‘L’ or for ‘Lou’… right away I know that they are reading my name from a list provided by the telemarketing firm they work for and that allows me to quickly end the call.

You might ask “Lou? How does L.V. become Lou?” Reason is technology. Most forms used online do not recognize special characters such as periods or quotation marks in the portion for given names. As such, I constantly get error messages when entering “L.V.” in a form field. On many such occasions, I would just enter “LV” but the computer’s software – which really is so much smarter than we mere mortals – decides that I am a stupid human and my name must really be Lv. Which becomes Lu to the telemarketer who would not recognize either L.V. or Lv as a normal human name – despite the computer’s better judgment – and thus would ask for ‘Lou’ – which allows me to end said call promptly. Anymore I just chuckle about these digital slights.

Lv has proven to be a great spam and junk mail filter… and those programs that use my email handle to start their salutation… “Hello Lvjmusic!” almost beg to have their spam output deleted immediately. Facebook on the other hand (here) cannot understand – even after sending an email pointing out that their form reader got it wrong.

So in Facebook’s portion of cyberspace, I am known as “L.v.”

But back to the back story… there was time many years ago when I asked the ones who named me, where the “L” did my name come from? Well it seems that back when Dad was born out in the sticks and hollers of Walker County, AL, the main form of home delivery was done using midwives. The attendants for his entry into the world were Lavonna and Vera.

Some have said that it’s an interesting story and after these so many years I do realize that my name has a history as rich as many others who also have what may seem to be an unusual name, so I wear it proudly and without reservation.

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