What’s In a Name?

Charlie: Why do kids call their parents Mom or Dad? Why not just call them by their first names?

Cassie: I don’t know. I guess it’s a sign of respect and a child is paying homage, somehow, to his parental elders to refer to them as “Mother” or “Father.”

Charlie: So when Bart calls his Dad, “Homer,” which is his real name – his IDENTITY – that’s being disrespectful?

Cassie: When you become a Dad, you still have your name identity but you kind of grow into a new and bigger person, an expanded identity…a father. There’s a lot of meaning in becoming a parent. (pause) Besides Bart’s whole tone of voice, like all the time, is fairly disrespectful. I think it’s more about his tone of voice…his brutal sarcasm.

Charlie: Did you ever call your Mom by her real name?

Cassie. No…I don’t think so…not even when I was mad. I showed my disrespect in other ways….by slamming doors or refusing to come out of my room.

Charlie: Really?

Cassie: Yes.

Charlie: You were mean to Grandma?

Cassie: Sometimes.

Charlie: As bad as Bart Simpson?

Cassie: I don’t think so. You’d have to ask Grandma.

Charlie: I doubt she knows about “The Simpsons.” She doesn’t do comics or those kinds of animated shows. Sometimes I call Uncle Eric….just “Eric.” I forget to say “Uncle.”

Cassie: I don’t think he minds.

Charlie: Besides, I have a lot of respect for him…for Uncle Eric…even if he is the one who taught me about “The Simpsons” and the fresh boy, “Bart,” in the first place. That’s ironic, right?

Cassie: Yes. I guess it is.

Charlie: Hmmm…I just thought of something. Is that why they have all “The Simpsons” graphic novels and comic volumes in the Teen section at the library, cuz teens are so disrespectful?

Cassie: Probably.

Charlie: So, if I get really mad at you sometime when I’m becoming a teenager, I won’t call you “Cassie” to your face, but I’m probably going to think it in my head. You’ll never know when I’m saying it in my head.

Cassie: That’s true. And you’ll probably slam some doors and get all mad at me and stay in your room and talk sass to me…and other things. (sigh) All part of the teenage angst.

Charlie: I’m growing up, Cassie.

Cassie: Hey!

Charlie: (giggling) Just kidding.

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