38-11: "I've Got a Name"

posted Aug 4, 2014, 11:08 AM by Terrence Moss   [ updated Aug 26, 2014, 6:34 PM ]

Pierpont turns twelve at the end of next month and he’s already approached Bradley and I about what he wants for his birthday – and his request was quite surprising.

The three of us were watching a DVR’ed episode of Pierpont’s current favorite show Instant Mom on Nick at Nite – which, when I was a kid, was airing reruns of classic TV shows from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. Now they’re producing their own programming and airing reruns of classic TV shows from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. I’m thirty-eight years old and my coming of age is now considered “classic” by a nostalgic basic cable network.

Pierpont was lying on the floor on his back in front of the couch with his head turned toward the television. “I want to be called by my real name,” he announced during the first commercial break.

Bradley was stretched out on the couch with his feet in my lap – which usually means he needs/wants them massaged. Fortunately for him, I like his feet – they’re long, narrow and a bit gangly – so at this point in our marriage, dropping them into my lap is enough of an ask for me to oblige.

But I digress.

Bradley looked up at me from the other side of the couch. I looked down at him and slowly nodded my head as I recalled my own desire, at the age of 18 as I was headed off to college, to be called Terrence instead of TJ (for Terrence, Jr.). I paused the DVR.

“Is this effective immediately?” Bradley asked.

“No. It’s for my birthday. This way you have about a month or so to get used to the idea,” Pierpont responded.

I remembered grandfathering certain people who knew me as TJ to continue calling me TJ. So I wondered if Pierpont’s request actually applied to Bradley and me.

“What brought this on?” I asked.

“It’s just time. Pierpont is kinda kiddish,” Pierpont replied.

“Are you no longer a kid?” I asked.

Pierpont sighed. “I guess I still am since you won’t let me drive, vote, smoke or drink,” he said. “But I’m upgrading myself to ‘older kid’.”

Bradley chuckled. I popped him on the knee. “I mean, fair enough,” he said.

“Why did you guys start calling me Pierpont anyway?”

“Well, your first name, Giovanni, and your middle name, Santiago, are pretty long and you had a hard time pronouncing them with our last names when you were really young. So we came up with a shorter alternative,” I told him.

“Which we shortened further to ‘Pierpont M-H’ for ‘Moss-Hollinger’ when we enrolled you in school.” Bradley added.

“But Pierpont?”

I chuckled. “There’s also story behind that.”

Pierpont sat up. “I’m listening.”

I looked over at Bradley. He shook his head. “It was your father’s idea,” he said to Pierpont. “And it was just easier than arguing.”

“It’s actually pretty simple,” I continued. “I’m a big fan of the show I Love Lucy. You’ve seen me watch it. We have the entire series on DVD.”

“Yes. It’s in black and white. Just like you two,” Pierpoint joked before dissolving into his own laughter. Like father, like son…because I do the same thing.

“Touche’,” I said to him.

“Lil’ shit,” Bradley mumbled with a smile. I popped him on the knee again.

“Well, in one of the episodes where Lucy is pregnant, she keeps trying to come up with names for the baby – at one point referring to it as Sharon or Pierpont. In those days, people didn’t know what they were having until they had it. But that’s where Pierpont came from.”

Pierpont stared at me blankly. “That’s the story?” he asked after a few moments.

“Yep. I’ve always loved that story.”

Pierpont turned his attention back to the television. “If I had known that, I would have asked to be called by my real name sooner.”

Bradley pulled out his phone to do what appears to be a google search of Pierpont’s name.

“You didn’t have a problem with it when you were four; you thought it sounded funny. So I stuck with it.”

“The key word there being ‘four’.”

“There’s a Nazarene church in West Virginia we could have named you after,” Bradley said. “Or a restaurant at the Union Station in Kansas City.”

Pierpont sighed at the television. “I wonder if the dad in this show is in the market for any more children.”

I looked over at Bradley. “That’s a good idea. ‘Child Swap’. Why should it only be the wives?”

Bradley stared at me blankly for a moment. “Unpause the show.”

“Are you going to be able to get used to answering to Giovanni?” I asked. “Or do you want to be called Santiago?”

“Perhaps Santianni,” Bradley suggested.

Pierpont’s ears perked up and looked at Bradley. “That’s better than Pierpont.”

“Why didn’t we think of that when we acquired him?” I asked.

“I did. But you were stuck on ‘Pierpont’.”

Pierpont glared at me for a moment.

“I don’t remember it that way, but work it out in therapy when you’re older,” I told him.

“Jake’s mother likes me. Maybe I can move in with them,” Pierpont said to himself -- but in a way that we could both hear.

“Not until you clean your room,” I said flatly.

“So…Santianni…if this is all you want for your birthday, does this mean we don’t need to buy you any presents?” Bradley asked.

Pierpont thought about this for a moment as he laid back down. “I’d like to invest in the stock market.”

Bradley looked up at me from the other side of the couch. I looked down at him. I didn’t see that one coming either.