experienced a lifelong identity crisis, of sorts, because of my name
(or names), and I've actually kind of enjoyed it-most of the time.
The controversy began in 1970, around the time that I made my almost
10-pound newborn debut (sorry, Mom). Apparently, the discussion between
my parents centered on whether to name me "Jase" or "Jason," both
names originating from a Greek word meaning "healer" or "royal pain
in the rear."
Other than referring to me as their massive baby who was like delivering
a propane tank, my parents finally settled on the more formal "Jason"
for my birth certificate-thinking that I could later go by "Jase"
if I wanted to pretend to be cool.
They then proceeded to call me by my family nickname, "Bub," from
that point forward. In fact, it didn't really sink in that I had any
other name than "Bub" until I entered public school. All I had heard
myself called for the first 5 years of my life was "Bub."
"Bub, get that battery out of your nose!"
"Bub, don't drink the aquarium water!"
"Bub, stop licking the television screen!"
I initially responded with disbelief when my parents advised me that
my kindergarten teacher would call me "Jason" anytime she asked me
to stop eating the Elmer's glue. But I eventually accepted the idea-sort
Shortly before kindergarten began, I proposed that I be called "Bub-Jase-Jason"
at school-until my big brother assured me that such a name would probably
guarantee me a weekly wedgie from my classmates.
I finally settled on "Jase" for educational settings, which, by the
time I entered high school, had been corrupted to "Jass" by my thoughtful
and loving closest friends. (The "J" was silent, by the way.)
In my post-mullet teen years, I worked as a lifeguard during the summers
and wore a pair of knock-off Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, which prompted
some of the more nearsighted swimmers to boost my ego by calling me
"Maverick" after the "Top Gun" character. My abs were actually out
of the closet back then. I miss them.
By the time I went off to college at Texas A&M University, I was back
to "Jase," thank goodness, but the fun didn't end there. On the first
day of my Spanish III class, I noticed that I was the only student
in the entire room whose name was of non-Hispanic origin, and when
the professor reached my name on the roster, I guess she didn't want
me to feel left out, so she pronounced it "José Grávez." (I still
ask my wife to call me that when we're eating Mexican food.)
These days, the most fun I have with my name is when my social media
friends hit the wrong key and address me as "Jade." I always just
laugh it off and tell them I expect to see them in the front row at
my next drag show.
Yes, my names have been varied throughout my life, but I've appreciated
them all in one way or another, especially after becoming a father.
At home, I'm mainly addressed as "Dad," "Diddy" or "Can I use the
And it surely is comforting that I can still go visit my parents and
hear their familiar advice, "Bub, get that battery out of your nose!"