Stories of Akron

What’s in a name, Kieran

It is not quite “The Boy Named Sue,” but Kieran is fucking close enough.

For 45 years,  people told me I must love “Johnny Cash.” I never listened to that stupid hillbilly song — I stared at them like they had kicked my new puppy.


Yeah, you too, Johnny. You too.  Stole the image from twitter.

I was told “Kieran” came from my dad (James Francis — two normal names in a row — thanks for breaking the pattern... dad).

My parents had 5 children, Moira, Pierce, Kieran — and the two boring ones — Margaret and John.  Mom picked the first two names — something different, something interesting, but something people could spell.

Third Choice

Dad got third choice.  Apparently, he didn’t give a shit about spelling or gender… The last two rounded out the Irish family names — call-backs to the only relatives with love or money.

My mother told me “Kieran” was someone my dad knew while fighting in Korea. Dad said it came from John Kieran, the New York Sportswriter turned novelist.

I tell both stories of how I got saddled with this Gaelic name — kind of fucked up when you are the 3rd generation born in America.

Yeah, starting off every year of school in Akron, Ohio, there was always at least one Karen in every class.  And I almost always had to sit next to them. The flat A’s of the midwest make Karen sound like Kieran.

To this day I wait to respond.  I’m not saying shit, Karen, until I’m 100-percent sure they are talking to me…

Explaining it was a “Gaelic” name didn’t help.

“You have a girl’s name and it’s gay?,” was the first question I got in the 7th grade.

That, of course, led to a fist fight.  The nuns landed more punches breaking us apart…  (More proof that sexual frustration easily translates to violence).

Until I was 16, introductions often led to fights.  Usually, I was the one who got punched in the face.

Now I’m a 250-pound, pigment-impaired, semi-monster of a man… and “Kieran” almost suits me perfectly.  In Gaelic it means: “Little dark one.”

Not fucking kidding, google it. Goddamn Irish can’t get anything right.

No Middle Name

Parents didn’t give me a choice of names either.  All my other siblings have middle names.  All the girls in my wife’s family go by their middle names.

I got bupkis.

Other kids in my neighborhood got cool nicknames, “Bronco” or “Bubba”…  Hell, for a few years there I would have been happy to be called… “Bupkis”.

My brother John, had tons of nicknames — from “Brown Bear” to “Smiley”.  But people like him.  My asshole personality defied description and my siblings and classmates sucked at creative naming.

Male teachers and coaches were clueless.  My high school football program had my name as “Calireon.”  Fucking close enough.

As a kid,  I never met anyone with the same name.  In the Rubber Capital of the World, I might as well use the hebrew name for Nimrod (which is of course, Nimrod).

The name had one advantage: I could use “Kieran” for my username or email at any job or on any website without the stupid ass numbers — so you can go fuck yourself, “David007”.

Spelling Optional

But in 2000, I went to work for an Irish company. I put my name in for the email, and it came back with 2000 hits.  And that didn’t include the ones who spelled it Keiron, or Kieron…  or Keiran or Keiron or Kieren or Kryan or Kyron… Then there are the variations that start with “C”.  Fucking Irish.

In the 21st Century, there are a lot more little Kierans running around.  I blame Kieran Culkin, and Seton from the Dan Patrick show (who named his kid Kieran) and a few other famous faces…  I’ve even had a few douchebag millennials say they were considering using it for their future baby.

“Is it a boy?” I always ask, and they turn their heads at me like confused puppies.  “It would be a fine name for a girl…’

A few years ago, I got Spotify.  It popped up “Your Own Personal Jesus” by Johnny Cash. Awesome.  I asked Spotify for more.

Up came “A Boy Named Sue.” Any time before 2000, I would have deleted that song and dumped that app. Google should know me better than that.

But now I’m a grown-ass man (sort of) and “Boy Named Sue” is on my “good” playlist. Every time I’m in the car alone, I crank it up, open the moon roof and shout: “My name is Sue, how do you do? Now you’re gonna die.”

And laugh and laugh at all the strangers staring at me at the stop light like I kicked their puppy.

Yeah, “life ain’t easy for a boy named”… Kieran.

Fucking close enough.

26 replies »

  1. Ha! You told me you’d steal the concept, but you didn’t tell me you’d do it so much better than I did! XD Great one, and sorry you got your name mixed up with the root of all evil and slayer of managers!

    Liked by 2 people

      • yeah Ciaran is a good name, not an ill name.( Half hanged). but the ignorant/low IQ don’t undetstand its significance. Anyway , At least 4 Spellings, so if u aren’t Irish, not ur fault but forget it. It Derives from The 3 St. Kierans of IRELAND, Of CLonmacnaios, OFFALY, + Possibly Glendalough, Wicklow( A Saint Kieran being a friend of Hermit St. Kevin).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Am reminded. – My “given” name is Stephen Brownlow Metcalfe III – I mean, really? What in god’s name was my mother trying to prove. Thakfully I was just Steve or Stephen all through grades 1 – 12. And then: At my mother’s insistence my full name including the III went on my college applications. Fall classes – reading of students names in a given class – S.B. Metcalfe the third. I mean, what!? Fuck me. I was “S.B.3” to I don’t know how many students the rest of the semester – and they giggled as they said it.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Ok. Don’t yell, heh, BUT my daughter’s name is …..are you fucking ready?!…… Ciarán.

    Not even a lie.

    I had it all picked out for a BOY because it’s a BOY name and a very uneducated friend of mine said to me ” Ciarán? That’d be a good name for a girl” And I was so OFFENDED because, why was she so dumb and why was I friends with a dumb person? and everything offended me 20years ago!

    BUT the more I thought of it…and the more I was unable to come up with a girl’s name… the more I decided that Ciarán would be a great name, boy OR girl.

    I had a girl and here we are. Ciarán. She’s not keen on it either, for a lot of the same reasons you’re not but also because it’s not girly enough for her.

    It might please you to know, that when she was a baby, a doctor in a hospital asked her name and then scolded me most fiercely for giving her a boy’s name….

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I got saddled with two middles names, which as it’s also Irish sounds pompous as hell. Thanks, alot, DAD! (He put his dad’s first name as my second middle name at the last moment; my brother has the regular one middle name.) So I’ll loan you that one. JK. Anyway, I enjoyed your post despite the pain it described. Being punched for your name must have sucked. I was called names and nearly got beat up for being a boy flute player. I think that taunting helped me become first chair. No luck with the girls, though. I digress. Ride and write on!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Sure, man. Realized I wasn’t following you, not sure why, but am now. Seems you don’t blog much about cycling? However I found your page with the Lewis Black videos where he’s reading your rants, and that is fucking awesome, K! Funny, funny, schtuff. I included the F word in my post and here thanks to you and LB’s example. Plus, this pandemic fucking sucks balls. It is, as you might say, bullshit.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope there’s a shop somewhere with shitty customer service by workers wearing both makeup and playing death and speed metal somwewhere.

        Of course it’s called….

        Wait for it…

        VICIOUS CYCLE !!!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hate to say… my given name is Karen… no middle name – I was supposed to get that when I got confirmed! There were so many Karen’s in my classes back in the 60’s and 70’s! Hence KIKI. Kiki is so much more fun. I should have adopted it waaay sooner!

    Liked by 1 person

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