Friday, September 16, 2011


It was the middle name that he dutifully carried like a good son for 22 years. Not an easy task when the namesake you bear lived life as mythical character, as in Herculean sized standards. Named for Dad's mentor--a bald, little spitfire of a guy wielding Bible verses on street corners, holding a small college together by the seams, inspiring many even into his 80th year. The shoes were definitely big.

We needed for him to be epic. To back up the carrying on of the family name after a decidedly long line of X chromosomes. The even longer line of five older siblings claiming niches in life complicated matters for my brother. He needed to be epic and distinct. We needed a knight.

Did our needs and expectations somehow contribute to the creation of the epic adventures? To the creation of this Bipolar Disease as foe? No. But sometimes my mind wanders there. To the place where guilt and shame and blame throttle you and wrestle you to the ground.

In particular, I wonder sometimes at how mania made him larger than life. How the mania granted the opportunity to be epic. Grandiose. O Fortuna. It was the mania that birthed the Knight, or the Phantom of the Opera, or the Prophet, or Jason Bourne and his identity crisis. It was the mania that made him invisible as he danced around the block on the run from the government conspiracy.

The Knight.

I'm not sure he ever knew that the Latin word for Knight is Miles.

And he'll never know that my medical practice names him as it treats mental health patients.


His namesake. Favored piece on the chess board, L mover, plunderer of Queens and Kings alike. Good at chess, because he knew how to use the knight to such advantage. And because he studied to the point of obsession.

Miles. Suggestive of a journey. Travels. Epic. Knight. Brother.

What's in a name?

A memory. History. The boy that never ages finally reaching knighthood.

No comments:

Post a Comment