Growing up I liked my name. It seemed different, concise, and something easy to sound out if you had seen in on paper. Chances are, I was the only student in class that had this name. So I was unique to everybody else.

I liked to spell my name growing up because I liked how the letter “J” could be written. It could be written in several different ways. It has a loop, it could be written as just a loop, or you could place a line on top to give it a hat-like quality. I liked hats and wear them a lot, so the first letter really did appeal to me. Even the lowercase letter is a loop that goes below the writing line on a piece of paper, and as a bonus it gets a dot. How cool is that?

My dad told me I was named after a character in a book, which i can never remember the name of. He liked it because it was different, and I suspect he liked it because it was not a name of a book in the Bible. His name is Matthew and his brother, Mark. Sure my name has biblical meanings but that wasn’t any part of the discussion in choosing my name. There was something unique to my name, and it was never used in my family previously. The character in the book was also a good guy which influenced my parent’s decision. I assume he picked  his oldest child to be the responsible and good child like the character in the book. I need to ask him again what that book is called. I think once I asked and he forgot.

Having a somewhat unique name does have its consequences. Especially if somewhat famous celebrities and jewelry companies share the name. I wish they did not have my name, and when people reference that name to me and associate it with them it makes me annoyed. Unimportant celebrities like Jared Fogle and companies like Jared: The Galleria of Jewelry draw somewhat frequent associations. These people are not me however.

Jared is a little more popular now, and even this semester I have a class with another man of the same name. Sometimes I don’t even say my name right when I tell people and they think for a moment I am “Jerry” or sometimes “Jerold”. I don’t have any formal nicknames that a “Nicholas” or a “Michael” or a “Jennifer” have. This is what makes my name unique and my own identity. No one else in my family has my name and despite some fruity references to pop culture it is a name that signifies something good and something unique.

Mentor Text:  Cisneros, Sandra.  The House on Mango Street.  New York:  Vintage Books, 1984.

“I would’ve liked to have known her, a wild, horse of a woman…”

“I was named after a character in a book, which i can never remember the name of.”