Wendell, Me and Baby Beck
I hate the pictures of me on blessing day. It's always the consummate "before" picture.
So the Bishop stands up and announces that we will having a baby blessing today. And he looks at Beck's name and says, "I won't tell you the name, I'll let Brother Wood* reveal that in the blessing." Honestly, I think he had no idea how to pronounce Cohen and rather than massacre it, then hear it correctly when Wendell said it, he just let Wendell do it.
The blessing was wonderful and very sweet. I wrote notes like mad and Wendell didn't change the name, so that went smoothly. But after Sacrament meeting, all of the these church members, especially old people, kept coming up and asking what the baby's name was. My interchange with Sister Wilkes was a typical one.
SW: So what did you name him?
J: Cohen Beck; Cohen Beck Wood.
SW: And you're calling him Beck?
SW: Is that your maiden name?
J: No, it's just a name we like. It's kind of funky.
SW: Yes, it's...interesting.
(When I was taking voice lessons at BYU from my uncle [he taught in the MDT department], he was playing songs for me and wanted me to pick one. "Do you like this one?" he asked. I cocked my head and nodded slightly, "It's interesting," I said. "Ah," said my uncle, "interesting is a euphemism for something you don't like, but you don't want to offend anyone. Never say something is interesting. Say that you like it or don't.")
I don't know how many times I got that reaction, like someone had a bad taste in their mouth just from saying his name. I keep wondering if I wouldn't have been peppered with so many questions if the bishop hadn't added to the oddity of the situation, by making Beck's name so mysterious. On the bright side, the bishop didn't stand up there and call him Colon.
(*Mormon 101: We have no paid clergy in our faith. All of the work is done by members willingly volunteering their time. Fortunately, church responsibilities, or callings, are rotated among the members. Part of what makes this system possible is a lay Priesthood. Any worthy man can hold the priesthood. This authority allows the member to perform special religious ordinances such as giving a baby a name and blessing, baptising, etc. Therefore, as long as the father is a member in good standing, he usually performs all religious rites for his family.)