Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Origin of My First Name & Ronald Coleman


I'm sitting in a chair thinking of my name, how it came about, and why well-manicured fingertips usually belong to people who wear velvet knee breeches while taking a bath. I'm studying a photograph of my mother laughing. She is sitting in an armchair in the back garden; I am resting on her lap. She is shading her eyes from the sun with her right hand, and looking straight into the camera.

My mother is cheerful and so am I. The armchair? Impossible to tell. I remember asking my mother the origin of my first name. She told me I was named after the English actor, Ronald Coleman. Naturally, he was indecently handsome (my mother preferred him with a mustache), well-mannered, impeccably groomed and statuesque. He took care to preserve his looks, of course, and it worked its charm on my mother. He often played an autumnal, amused romantic.

My distress was compounded by my mother's insistence that he possessed a beautiful speaking voice. By contrast, my own voice had yet to take shape. What chance did I stand against Ronald Coleman, who could switch on surface charm, at will? I lay in bed tormented by a man I had never met, nor ever would. My life had been thrown into despair by images of a charming, intelligent and 'indecently handsome' movie actor. I can say, without fear of contradiction, that nature has not been generous to me, either in terms of my build, my face, or my speech. 

As one gets older, however, one understands the ambiguity and the need to distrust images. The faces of film stars, and beautiful people, still haunt me, but in the darkness I pay little attention to their features. They are destined, like me - and those I love – to the same destiny. This thought does not bring me solace; only anguish. 

Nevertheless, my mother and I spent precious afternoons watching b/w reruns of Random Harvest which was released in 1942. A part, Ronald Colman played opposite Greer Garson. I had never seen such a beautiful woman. Everything seemed simple. One day I would meet Greer Garson, marry her, and Ronald Coleman would attend the wedding, much to my mother's delight. 

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A recent study, conducted by Doctor Wilkelfield Finkelfukal, on how your name has a profound effect on how serious you may be taken by others, is not to be published in the foreseeable future. In a statement, the publishers, Donski, Donner, and Kebab, said the Doctor's name was unpronounceable (even by the Doctor, himself), had no appeal, was too long, and combined with his bumper-pad hips, made promoting the book analogous to flying to the moon in a garbage can. If the Doctor, however, is willing to adopt a reasonable pseudonym there remains a chance the book will still hit the shelves; mostly by those foolish enough to buy the book.

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Reflections: Some people underestimate the importance of living for the moment. Most things of value tend to be of a transient nature: laughter, joy, love, happiness, family, friends, good health, memorable encounters. In life one must manage as best one can, and endeavour to help others' less fortunate.

5 comments:

Susan Deborah said...

A lovely connection of the personal and the universal. Names, people say do have an effect. I don't know why. Maybe it does. Maybe it does not. Whatever, as you have said, one should live for the moment and do the best with the name you have.

Joy always,
Susan (wonder what is behind this name)

Julie Musil said...

This may sound crazy, but I've never thought of my name, how it came to be, and why. Hmmm, I think I'll give my mother a call.

Your mother has good taste in movie stars, by the way.

Sharon McPherson said...

Hi Ronnie, I like your reflections summary - Am guilty of underestimating the importance of the moment. Laughter for me ... very important.

Hey thanks for sharing on my blog, very interesting ...

I'd say 2.5% funny is a start ... That 2.5% would probably make me kinda smirk ... You got something to work with now ... The only way is up. :)

Ronnie Kerrigan said...

Hi Susan, Julie, and Sharon,

I read your comments and thank each one of you for inspiring me to think, respond, and throw words together to establish a blog, of sorts.

It is exhilarating, heartening and liberating to read the works of other people, when written with feeling, tenderness, perceptiveness.

We are all winners no matter what critics say.

Joy with your dreams, whether literary, of the heart, of the mind, of the future.

Good things,

Ronnie Kerrigan

Susan Deborah said...

Good things back to you dear Nonnie.

Waiting for another post. Look around and start . . .

Joy always,
Susan