here I went out of my way to explain how we did not name our soon-to-be-born child after Spider-man, Alan Kercinik writes in a letter to his sons about how in fact he did just the opposite. Alan has blogged for some time at AlwaysJacked.com. After reading just the first few lines it’s a wonder Alan and I haven’t crossed paths (webs) sooner.
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Dear Jack Peter and Reid Parker –
I feel like an explanation is in order. Or at least some clarity.
I love comic books. Even though you are both younger than three, you both probably know this by now.
That love does have some limits. I don’t dress up at conventions. I have no plan to dedicate entire rooms of our house to an extensive collection of action figures. I promise there is no Bat Cave secreted away in some hidden sub basement. Although, sometimes, I wish there were.
But I’ve been reading comic books since before I started kindergarten. This probably seems like no big deal now, with fifty superhero movies coming out every summer. But it wasn’t always that way.
When I was a boy, there was something seedy and almost illicit about reading comic books. They had the whiff of the pulps from an earlier era, a low rent entertainment meant for the kind of geeks and loners who obsessed over things like parallel earths and the scientific possibility of having a body that could stretch like rubber. Someday soon, you’ll be able to download comic books directly to your cerebral cortex. Times change.
But some things have remained the same, which is why I keep reading. These things are the closest I’ll ever come to a personal coda.
“One man can make a difference.
Always try to do what is right, not what is convenient.
If you have special abilities and talents, it is your duty and responsibility to use them for good and as best you can.”
Which brings us to your middle names.
Naming is a tricky thing. Because names have a sort of power. Your mother and I strove for a contradictory ideal: names that were unique, but classic.
So that meant names that would suit your whole life, not just your boyhood (Billy!) or retirement (Gus). When Reid was born, we hoped the two of you would share an immediate bond. (A psychic bond would have been nice, but that is out of the current scope of both technology and our personal finances.)
Jack, your middle name is your grandfather’s, as we wanted something that bound you to your mother’s side of the family. But when it came time to pick a name for Reid, Parker was my idea.
Put the two of you together and you get Peter Parker.
Spider-Man has always been the hero who I related to most. Peter Parker was a shy bookwork who was ridiculed for liking what he liked as a boy. One bite from a radioactive spider later and he has new powers and a new identity that he made up for himself. He had confidence and a snappy sense of humor that hid when he was scared or insecure.
You both could do considerably worse than live up to your namesake’s example. I just hope it doesn’t take my death for you to realize there is a better way to live your life than being self-centered and selfish.
We are here for a reason, boys, and that is to try and make our little corners of the world a better place. You both have the power to do that, as your mother and I already know so well. I hope you try to live up to the responsibility that power demands. You don’t always have to succeed, mind you. But you do have to try.
And before you go rolling your eyes, just know this. It could have been a hell of a lot worse. Jack, your first name could have been Kal-El if your mother had gone along with it. Or your middle names could be Batman and Robin.
Love to you both,
Alan Kercinik bloggs at AlwaysJacked.com. Show the fellow DorkDaddy some love and spend a little time at his site.