What's in a Name? (Courtney McKinney-Whitaker)

I will forever be accused, by my family, of playing a really mean prank on my little brother.

And I will forever deny all charges, because I didn't mean for it to be a prank.

I was quite serious.

When I was four, I said to my two-year-old brother, "We just call you Brandon. Your real name is Tony."

I still remember his sobs, his little red face, the tears. "My name's BANDON. It's BANDON!"

"No," I said. "It's Tony."

Beliefs of my mother, to this day, aside, I really wasn't trying to be mean.

Tony was the name of my best friend at preschool.

Tony was a great guy who never once hit me over the head with a block because he liked me (ahem, Chris) or told me the police were coming to arrest me but it was okay because he would protect me by blowing up the world with gunpowder (ahem, Michael). (Also, ahem, patriarchy much, preschool boys?)

So I really thought that Tony would be a great name for my little brother, I thought he would be delighted to have it, and I maintain that it is not my fault he thought otherwise.

On a related note, my parents also still think that Brandon was upset by my attempts to teach him to read using environmental print. He was thrilled when I pointed out that Raisin Bran included part of his name. He smiled as much as he cried about the Tony thing when told him the cereal included part of his name.

"Part of mine name?" he said, wonderingly.

It all got wrapped up in the Tony story, so they think he was upset.

But he wasn't.

I guess that memory is mine alone.


  1. Funny story! I have to agree, Tony is a great name. :) I hope you've finally been able to convince Brandon you had only the best intentions, even if your mom has yet to come around.

    1. Haha, I don't know if anybody believes me, but I really was not trying to upset him. I just really liked the name Tony :-).

  2. I think we get free passes on pranks we pulled when we were four :)

  3. ...and free passes on pranks pulled on siblings.


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