As a child, I pathetically lorded over my father was the fact that I was the last male in his family line and therefore the sole heir to his family name. My cousins and second cousins were either all girls or the inheritors of other strong, single-syllabled, Midwestern names. Something along the lines of Blörg or Thune.
While my name is by no means uncommon, my family’s Scandinavian tree would lose a major branch if I were unable to sire at least one male progeny. In a loaded conversation, my grandparent mentioned this the last time we were in Iowa for a family wedding. They also noted that, until I was born, there had been at least one John in the family going back 5 generations. I’m not sure if my parent’s choice to name me after a maternal grandfather and end this practice was discussed at my birth, but it was inferred that they thought it would be a shame if I killed the John tradition.
The thing is, even though I love my uncle John (the family member I most closely relate to and, depending on the lighting, resemble) I don’t particularly like his name. I don’t think the G. has ever taken a shine to it either. But I still feared that any future wee Pyggy would already pre-named John Surname upon conception. Or at least we would be pressured into doing so.
But not anymore. It was just announced that Uncle John and Auntie Em are in the family way. It’s too early to know the sex, but any onus to carry on the John tradition is now firmly on their strong farming shoulders. And let’s hope it’s a boy because any girl in future-Iowa* is going to get teased bunches if her name is John.
*Future-Iowa is just like regular now-Iowa except chickens have to wear diapers.