After my divorce, I thought about returning to my maiden name, but the 15-page form was confusing, and it would cost me $250. I really had to mull it over. Does a name reflect who a person is? Is it a matter of identity, or just a label?

I thought about this as I read an article on National Geographic’s website: “Spectacular Armored Dinosaur Found in Imperiled National Monument.” I noticed the awful name they’d given this poor, long-deceased creature: “Johnson’s Thorny Head.” How do they know he wasn’t a flippant hipster with a nickname like “Skip” or “Jazz”? Maybe he went by initials, like “JT.”  😎

It occurred to me that he’s being remembered by someone else’s name. It turns out that Johnson was the volunteer fossil preparer who’d cleaned up the find. And to make it worse, they had to emphasize the unfortunate shape of the poor thing’s head! I have to believe that having armor and a thorny head would’ve been helpful in terms of self-defense against dinosaurs with the cool names, like Tyrannosaurus Rex. Now there was a dino with some good PR. He even had a wicked nickname: T. Rex.

Maybe this is a lesson for all of us. People will make assumptions, trying to extrapolate your story from second-hand sources and very little actual data. As for me, some call me “Miss Ruth,” which I like, as I feel it’s respectful. My son calls me “Mom,” which I love, as he’s my heart. But what really matters is what I call myself. In a word? Blessed.

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