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Myself: My Name

This orig­i­nally appeared on mis​ter​agye​man​.blogspot​.com on July 27, 2014.

I intend to do what every victim of the Ghanaian pri­mary school syl­labus has wished to do at some point. Every time we’re forced to write ‘of dark com­plex­ion’, against the protest of our immor­tal souls; every time they made me say I’m enjoy­ing school; every time the teacher can­celed my post-script– this is revenge for the eleven years of ‘Creative Writing’ I had to endure. Initially I intended to do a para­graph for every stock sen­tence. After delib­er­a­tion I decided this would be evil of me. A full essay each is the least I can do.

You are welcome.

So this is Chapter 1 of the Myself Chronicles:

My Name.

My name is Mister E. Yes, pro­nounced Mystery. I know it’s pre­ten­tious. Pretentiousness amuses me. Had I been born a whale, my call sign would be a jazz guitar lick. In respectable com­pany, I call myself Mister Agyeman. On Facebook, they call me Da Bard. As in ‘The Bard’, but in ebonic. I con­sider myself the last word in irrev­er­ence, but Zuckerberg is to blame for this one. I tried to change it to Bam Bue, but Facebook would­n’t let me. But it works in my favour. Once some­body has blasted you for your con­ceit, you feel like old friends.

Naming is a del­i­cate thing. In Ghana, we give the unfor­tu­nate infant a quick shot of liquor to steady them for the heart­break­ing announce­ment. It sounds a bit extreme, but it comes from good logic. You come from your won­der­ful amni­otic sac, and the world hits you in the face with its sound. Things sound won­der­ful in water, you know? Our world with its harsh per­cus­sions must sound so prim­i­tive, coming from that beau­ti­ful atmos­phere. And then even worse, smack- they throw one of these sounds at you and say: Henceforth, O baby, thou art Mephibosheth.

But famil­iar­ity breeds love, sci­ence claims. Unlike the babies, as adult human beings we each think our name the most beau­ti­ful sound in the world. And then we travel a bit, and we meet nice people with dif­fer­ent palates, and these sweet new friends force us to listen to their funky remixes of our IDs. And we have to nod and smile. Life just hard.

I was chris­tened Ebenezer. I was young and now I’m old, and I’m still pleas­antly sur­prised when some­one spells my name with an E. First decade of my life, it was always ‘A’. It’s pro­nounced with a grave ‘A’ in Ghana. Even teach­ers did it to me. Abenezer. Abenazer. Abenezar. Abel. Bernard. How did I fix it? I didn’t. I tried once to get people to call me ‘E’. Didn’t work. Now I just bear it.

It helps to think, “I could be Ante… that guy.” 

Thinking of whales. There’s this poor girl whose pitch falls out­side the fre­quency spec­trum of other whales. Now she’s trapped in a cycle of anguish. She calls, they do not hear. They don’t respond, her fre­quency lowers in despair. Now she has very little hope of ever speak­ing to her kind. I don’t know how it fac­tors into this dis­cus­sion. Wait- whales add their per­sonal trill to every call. Perhaps- no. There’s no connection.

So let’s leave it there. My name is Mister Agyeman.