By Kevin Wilson
I fear I may be a victim of discrimination.
But before every lawyer within the area tries to reach me, let me explain that it’s a tough case to win. There’s no concrete evidence, and this isn’t based on race, religion, nationality or skin color.
No, it’s quite simply name discrimination.
I’ve got a double-sided area of name discrimination, though. Allow me to present my case point by point, starting at the end — that is, my last name of Wilson.
I don’t mind the fact that Wilson is a pretty common name. What I do mind is its place in the alphabet and how it might have cost me valuable lessons in education.
Every year in grade school (and sometimes even in high school), the teacher would come out with a seating chart, and it would always be alphabetical. Maybe if your name is John Nocomplaint, you’re situated in the middle of the classroom.
I, on the other hand, was consistently shelved to the back right corner of the room, where my main social outreach was the mouse that stayed in the corner.
But the worst times were those where the alphabetically inferior names were supposed to help me. A few times every year, there would be a huge presentation in front of the class, which made up roughly 84.7 percent of your total grade for the subject. That’s when Brittany Abercrombie (name changed) would say, “It’s unfair that I always have to go first because my name starts with ‘A.’”
Except it wasn’t unfair, because it never happened like that. Abercrombie would speak up, the teacher would sympathize with her, and decide another way to determine presentation order: reverse alphabetical order, starting with that Wilson boy who talks to mice in the corner. By the time the bell rang, there wasn’t time for Brittany’s presentation, so she just had to hand in her written report and not deal with questions from the audience.
It’s costly in the dating game, too, since no woman wants to share in my name discrimination. After all, why move down in the alphabet by taking my last name? Unfortunately, it’s kind of tough to find a single girl with an ‘X,’ ‘Y’ or ‘Z’ to start her last name.
Have I made my first case clear? Good. Now let’s move on to the clincher in my case — my middle name.
My middle name is Delbert. Not Dilbert, Delbert. My mother likes to tell me that she named me after my grandfather Del. She’s also told me that his legal name wasn’t Delbert, but Del. I wouldn’t have minded Del at all, because it’s almost a cool jazz name. (Now performing at Goober McCool’s, Del Wilson and the Funky Journalists!)
Anyway, the middle name is a source of laughter for my friends and my brother (and his friends), and the laughter always comes at the wrong times. A few weeks ago, I stopped by a friend’s place just to talk about old times, and an attractive female friend of his also visited. I used a little bit of my charm and sense of humor, and I figured I was making a good impression.
Then, 30 minutes in, the middle name came up. My friend was like a piranha in a blood-tainted aquarium — “Why don’t you tell her your middle name, Kevin? I can’t seem to remember it.” Let’s just say the good impression was gone at that point.
I’d tell you some amusing stories about other friends and their name discrimination cases, but their names are innuendoes themselves and would surely be caught by my editors. I suppose my friends suffered worse forms of discrimination, and some would say my experiences build character.
But if and when a woman is not afraid of my alphabetical placing, I might have a son for whom I’d eliminate any chance of name discrimination. How does Abercrombie Wilson sound?
Kevin Wilson is the managing editor of the Portales News-Tribune. He can be reached at 356-4481, ext. 33 or by e-mail: