Identity

I’ve always been a little touchy about my identity. I was the younger brother of two, popular older brothers. In elementary school this was no big deal. Come high school it became a nightmare. That’s the age I, like other high-schoolers, was trying to find and assert my own, unique identity. And it was darn near impossible to do so as the third one in my family.

Teachers largely assumed I was pretty much like either of my older brothers. This did come in handy come grading time; they figured I was smart, too, and I’d get good grades. But I’m surprised I didn’t get detention for the number of times I sported attitude. When asked if I was “his brother” I’d sometimes reply, with venom, “No, he’s MY brother!”

In fact, one of my brothers was paged to the office when I was in high school. A few seconds after that page the school official corrected herself and paged me. That was 1992, my senior year. The brother paged graduated in 1989! The teacher whose room I was in looked up at me, still sitting at my desk without any indication of moving.

“You’re not going because they got your name wrong?” he asked.

“You got that right.” I answered.

“Fair enough, Jason.”

As an adult I largely don’t care anymore, especially since the paths we’ve followed, the communities we live in and the people we know are all different between the three of us. However, I felt a little wronged by Coca-Cola last year.

In case you haven’t noticed, Coca-Cola puts names on their bottles during the summer. Share a Coke with John or Share a Coke with Jessica or other names decorate their labels. Last year, I looked for my name. I could never find it. However, I found my brothers’ names! C’mon, Coke! I checked a website which ranked names by popularity; type in your name and see where you rank. Jason is 24th for US males. One of my brothers is ranked 76th. Sure, found his name. The other is ranked 226th – and I found his name TWICE! What the heck!

I wasn’t going to bother looking for my name this summer. But, when my wife and I went to the cafeteria at the hospital today I saw sitting there a Coke labelled, “Share a Coke with Jason.” It almost brought a tear to my eye…finally some recognition!

Now, having suffered from kidney stones I’m really not supposed to drink Coke. But I couldn’t resist. After all, it had my name on it!

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