Another Writing Exercise

brian_l.jpgI’ve been writing a lot. For work. To the point where I don’t feel like doing anymore at night or on the weekends. So apologies for the lack of updates lately. Today is different though. I’ve got a cold, it’s about to dump a foot of snow outside and there’s absolutely nothing on the 300 or so TV channels we have. So I thought a writing exercise was in order. The kind where I google a word, pick the first image that comes up and write about it.

The word choice is always the toughest part of this exercise. I try to keep it as basic as possible. “The” works good. “At” is always a winner. But I thought I’d get a bit more specific today. So I’m going with my first name. It’s “Brian” in case anyone doesn’t know. Here goes. Thirty minutes no holds barred.

I have little, if any, connection to my first name. There’s only, maybe, a handful of people that actually address me as “Brian,” and I think I like it that way. I don’t know where my parents got the name from. There’s no other Brians in my family as far as I know. But that’s they name they gave me. I actually prefer my middle name. It’s James. Jim for short. And there are tons of Jims that I know and like in this world. But I realize that it’s a little late in the game for me to start going by another name, so Brian it is until the day I die. But you can just say Tunney. For all intents and purposes, it just works better. I should also point out, that by having the middle name James, my initials became BJ. I hope I don’t have to point out the obvious here. I share the same initials as the guy from BJ and the Bear.

But the name Brian kinda puzzles me. I don’t know many people, besides the dog from The Family Guy named Brian, that are inherently a Brian. With certain names, you just know the name fits the person. Like, “Oh man, that guy is definitely a Ted.” Or, “Josh, Josh, Josh, quit joshing me!” The name “Brian” just doesn’t seem to attach itself to people as well. Now some of you might say that it’s because there isn’t a direct meaning or state of being attached to the world of Brians, but I think it’s more a case of linguistics. Brian is hard to say. Say it aloud if you don’t believe me. It doesn’t roll off the tongue like Mike, Ted, Ben, Ebenezer or Shawna. It has to build up before it’s forced out of the mouth, and I think that act alone carries a lot of underlying meaning behind the lack of Brian actually meaning something more than just a name for cartoon dogs and legendary BMX vert riders.

Actually, I’m going to use Brian Blyther as an example. For those not in the know, he’s a legendary BMX vert pro that brought style and finesse to vert like no other. It’s rare that he’s actually called Brian though. Personally, I’ve always call him “Brian Blyther.” That’s just cause I like alliteration. But most of the time, he’s simply referred to as “Blyther.” Why? Same as me. There’s no inherent inherentness to the name Brian. (I made that word up, kill me.) It’s just a first name. Nothing more, nothing less aside from a burden onto the tongue and lips.

Maybe The Family Guy got it right by naming their dog just Brian? When I watch the Family Guy (which only just started recently for me) I actually do think, that their dog is a “Brian.” And that’s because they use his name all the time. They don’t call him “Griffin.” It’s just “Brian.” Now, if I follow that line of thought, I should drop my surname and just call myself “Brian.” Kinda like McLovin, but without the awesomeness. Or Prince, but without the purple. But I would never do that. I like being a Tunney. And I could never take a real person with just one name seriously. Unless that name is “Tron.”

Ten minutes to go. I’m trying to think of other Brians in the world. Brian Wilson, the crazy guy from The Beach Boys. He’s never been just a Brian. Actually, he’s always been “That crazy guy from The Beach Boys that took 30 years to make one record.” Bad example. Brian Eno. I gotta confess, I don’t know too much about the guy, but I do know that if your last name is something badass sounding like “Eno,” that you don’t go by Brian. At least I wouldn’t. And I’m not even an pioneering prog rocker.

Six minutes to go, so I should start wrapping this up. Brians of the world, our name is nothing special. It’s hard to say, despite the Celtic/Irish origin meaning “high and/or noble,” it’s not doing most of us any good, and more importantly, it’s become most well known in the pop culture lexicon for a cartoon dog that lives in Quahog, Rhode Island and a Monty Python movie. Actually, for such a non-meaning, hard to pronounce first name, I guess that’s doing pretty well. I think it’s safe to say that you earned that upcoming beer Brian….

And oh yeah, I always tell myself that March 1 is the symbolic end of winter. So much for that.

And on top of that, do not ever build up a new bike while you are sick, with a snow storm approaching not far behind. I’m learning the hard way how much it sucks to build up a new bike and not be able to do anything but look at it.

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