What’s in a Name?

In Weeder’s Clump, Biff and Beylene Edwards had for years tried very diligently to have a child. Despite their considerable efforts, they were not met with success. Finally, however, life sent a miracle, and they were rewarded with a bouncing baby boy whose eyes were as blue as Henry Fonda’s in “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

Then came the task of naming the child. Although Biff and Beylene were compatible in so many ways and thought alike on so many important matters, they could not agree on a name for the wee lad. It proved no help at all when Phil McKavity, their kindly neighbor and capable dentist, suggested, “Why not name the boy Polo? “Phil offered.

“Why should we name him Polo?” Biff and Beylene replied in unison.

“I was thinking of Marco Polo, the great heroic explorer and adventurer,” Phil replied, somewhat chagrined that his genius was not appreciated. 

“We want something unique, a name that is special, Homeric even,” Beylene said. ”We want this boy to be a hero; we want him to travel to the four corners of the world, sail the seven seas, and do battle with formidable adversaries. We need a name that is fitting for a hero. As they say on television, ‘One name says it all.’”

Biff had to make an important business trip to Peoria. As he was driving along on I-74, singing “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha,” he approached a road sign that read “Kickapoo Edwards.”

“Voila! Eureka!” Biff exclaimed.

When Biff arrived in Peoria, the first thing he did was to call Beylene and tell her the news.

“Beylene, dear heart, love of my life, pulchritudinous mother of our son, woman of great intelligence and many talents,  bud of spring in dreary December when the earth shivers in the cold arms of death, I think I have found a name for our baby. What do you think of the name Kickapoo—Kickapoo Edwards?”

“It’s perfect; it’s impetuous and Homeric,” Beylene replied. “I would venture that no one in a three-state area has Kickapoo as a first name. Now hurry home and we can celebrate our connubial bliss, but please drive carefully, my dear and loving husband.”

Thus the Edwards child was named Kickapoo, and he could not have had two more loving and dedicated parents than Biff and Beylene. They were, however, careful in their love for the child. They did not want him to grow up and be an enfant terrible like John McEnroe and Justin Bieber. 

They were determined that little Kickapoo would have a hero’s education, so they enrolled him in martial arts and took him to movies such as all the “Rocky” and “Indiana Jones” flicks. But the most pleasant part of Kickapoo’s early education was that each night before bedtime Biff and Beylene took turns reading stories about heroes to him. Little Kickapoo’s favorite story was of Samson in the Bible, when that great hero slew so many Philistines using the jawbone of an ass as his only weapon. Unknown to Biff and Beylene, Kickapoo had chosen Samson as his role model.

Kickapoo was so enthralled by Samson that he cried every time in the story when Delilah tricked Samson and cut his hair and blinded him. 

One night after listening to the Samson story, Kickapoo had a nightmare. In the dream his parents were Howie Mandel and Sinead O’Connor, and his grandfather was Yul Brynner. They were chasing him to take him to the barber shop to get his hair cut by Mr. Clean. In desperation, Kickapoo ran to the neighbor’s house to hide. He was so exhausted that he fell into a deep sleep. When he awoke, the little neighbor girl was standing over him with scissors and a razor. She had cut off all of his hair and shaved his head so that he looked like a bald, pint-sized version of Howie Mandel. Kickapoo ran from the house screaming at the top of his voice.

When Biff and Beylene Edwards came into the bedroom, Kickapoo was wide-eyed with terror. After he told them about the nightmare, they decided to enlighten him about Samson and the mistakes he had made. 

“Samson placed too much importance on his physical strength, his hair, and violence as a means to handle any problem,” Beylene said.

“He became arrogant and full of pride.” Biff added.

“He didn’t realize that physical strength unaided by intelligence and wisdom is not enough to be a hero in this world of deception,” said Beylene.

“That’s right; Samson lacked important self-knowledge, and he was an easy victim to the clever manipulations of Delilah,” Biff added. “Yes, your mother is right: Intelligence and wisdom are far more important than physical strength and the length of one’s hair,” Biff agreed, trying to reinforce the message even though recently he had been attempting to cover up his growing bald spot by sweeping his hair forward from the nape of his neck like Donald Trump.

Since Kickapoo was a sensible child, he understood what his parents were telling him. Kickapoo discarded Samson as a role model, but nonetheless he kept a wary eye on Lila Shaver, the cute little girl who lived next door.