The man without a name wasn’t thrilled with his lot in life, and understandably so. As a toddler, in the security of his family and those they trusted, it wasn’t something he was even cognizant of, although one of his earliest memories is sitting on top of a little plastic slide in his room, not more than a couple feet from the floor, and having it suddenly occur to him that he knew the names of some of this circle of family and trusted friends, but didn’t have one himself. He began to cry as would any child of four or five-ish upon realizing such a thing. Somehow, however, when his mom told him that it was okay, that a name doesn’t change anything about who you are inside, he believed her. She was his mom, after all. The Word of God.
Things changed on his first day of school. The teacher introduced herself and began calling everyone’s name, with each child standing up and waving to the fellow classmates, some proud, some shy, some utterly terrified. She finished all the names but, being an astute minder of little heads, noticed the boy who hadn’t yet stood up. “And why hello there, I’m sorry did I skip you? What’s your name?” The boy without a name remembered the conversation with his mom but was unprepared for the shock of this question, the shock that truly everyone else had a name. The principal had to be called, hushed conversations in the corner, much flipping of pages and glances towards the reddening wreck slouched down to practically horizontal in his attached chair-and-desk. His parents were called. He was brought into another office where he continued to not listen to anything. He entered a world which he never wholly left.
He was eventually let into the class, no name and all, and the teacher made do as best she could, as did every other teacher and every other person he’d encounter for the rest of his life up through today. The other children, of course, were awful. They didn’t understand, they wouldn’t understand, they hated him. Even the ones who occasionally showed some form of pity or mercy or compassion eventually gave up. The whole situation was just too difficult for anyone to deal with.
And how to call him? What to call him? How should he sign his tests and papers? His applications? How would he be remembered? How would anybody know who he was?
Over time he figured out answers, or at least workarounds, to some of these questions. But not all. And he’s still discovering new problems with the whole thing. Through it all, deep in his mind, stubborn and creeping into everything he did, was the basic tenet that shaded his every thought and perception, that a man without a name is hardly a man at all.