Friday, March 11, 2005

“If you are going to print homo type stuff please use a name other than Homer. Homer the Homo? A little class, please.”

I’ll admit that Homer is a rare name. It was once a quite popular name- in the 1900s it ranked number 91 in popularity. By the 1960s, the decade of my birth, it ranked 524. Since that time it has dropped significantly and, according to the Social Security Administration, Homer was not among the top 1,000 names given to boys in any year since 1990.

Having an unusual name is not always an easy thing. In grade school and again in college I had guys calling me “Homer the Homo.” As Homer M., Jr. was kind enough to point out, Homer and Homo, amazingly enough, sound somewhat alike! The two words have a syllable in common! If you say the two together (Homer Homo), it sounds kinda neat!

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I was named Homer because that was the name of an elderly man who lived next door to my father when he was a kid. My father had a messed up childhood and wasn't allowed to see his biological father's family. His mother's parents died when he was young. So old Homer became my father's surrogate grandfather. Back when I was born my parents decided to honor him by giving me that name. From stories I've heard, he was a pretty fun guy, who sometimes liked to drink a bit too much. On the other hand, he stayed married to Josephine for 56 years and was a generally good person. I have his pocket watch and moustache cup. He's been dead for over 50 years.

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As an aside, I know I’m not the only Homo Homer because one time I was walking up a hilly street in San Francisco and there scratched into some once-wet concrete was “Homer loves Mike.”

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