The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 30, 2013

Name game

By Jason O'Boyd, Staff Writer
SNAP

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 — What’s in a name?

Shakespeare wrote this in his play “Romeo and Juliet.” The entire verse goes like this:

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.”

My parents gave me what I deem a very distinctive name. If memory serves me correctly, they also considered Bradley Paul before settling on Jason Owen Boyd. I think they made the right choice.

Jason was a pretty cool name growing up. It a world filled with names like Brad, Phil, Tony and Chris, Jason was a unique title that, at least to me, stood out from the rest.

I remember the first time I heard my name used on television. “Jason and the Argonauts” is a 1963 film about a legendary Greek hero and a team he assembled who went in search of the Golden Fleece. That film captivated my imagination, and not for the crude special effects that would make a Japanese Godzilla film seem like “Gone with the Wind” compared to this flick.

I just thought hearing my name spoken on television was cool. It proved to be a lot more exciting to hear it on the magical box than when my mom, dad or a teacher would shout my name at the top of their lungs when I did something wrong.

Of course, I’m the same guy who, when I was very little, would run into the living room at top speed every time they would say “Come on down” on “The Price is Right.”

Yep … game shows and movies with my name in it. I was easily entertained as a kid.

I even heard my name once in a sermon at church. Jason of Tarsus is actually mentioned twice in scripture. He was a good and simple man (my wife could probably say the same about me today). To this day, I still open up the church bulletin to see if the pastor will be preaching a sermon in Acts 17 or Romans 16.

Of course, this Jason has a feast day each July 12 for Catholics and April 28 for Orthodox. Me? I’m lucky to get a free meal at Denny’s the day after Christmas, which is my birthday.

As I grew up, I realized there was actually another person where I lived named Jason Boyd. He was a couple of years younger than me and turned out to be a pretty good high school basketball player.

I, on the other hand, owned a basketball.

Still, it was very common for us to get mail that belonged to the other. Packages I expected to get took a little longer to arrive because, for some odd reason, they always went to his house first. And that was despite the obvious differences in our addresses.

And we wonder why the U.S. Postal Service is in such disarray.

That happened for years and even followed me when I went to college. So, when I got my first full-time newspaper job, I decided to throw my middle initial in my byline.

This, I felt, would make me stand out even further from the other people named Jason in the world. Not so.

It turns out there were four other people named Jason Boyd where I lived at the time, in Greenville, N.C. One Jason was a disc jockey who played beach music on a radio station on Sundays. Another shot wedding videos. The third one I never really found out who he was. And the fourth one, to no surprise, was the one I grew up getting mixed up with by the USPS. He moved there to go to college.

It was a routine to come home from work and have messages on my answering machine with requests for songs to be played on my radio show or to have me video tape Susie’s wedding rehearsal next month.

I have a really good friend who, after he first met me, started calling me O’Boyd, since he knew I liked using my middle initial. It’s still stuck, and a lot of people who know me call me by that name instead of Jason.

Of course, lately I’ve noticed my byline on the newspaper’s website is “Jason O’Boyd.” I’ve even gotten some mail with that name over the past couple of years.

So I’ve decided to embrace the fact that although may name isn’t Alawishes St. Clair, it is still a pretty cool and unique one to have. I can even look my name up on the internet and see someone who’s a musician, an artist and a professional baseball player.

So I guess the next time I travel out of town and check the phone book for the 1,000th time, I won’t be too disappointed when I see there’s another Jason Boyd who lives in the town where I’m staying.

Just don’t call me late for dinner. Now that would just be rude.