Next up? Marshall Mathers.
(If you didn't get either reference, I applaud the degree of hermitic lifestyle, because you're still reading a blog on the internet yet you can't identify a pair of rather considerable pop culture references.)
Even after a month of taking daily photos, there are still photos that are point blank with little artistic composition (at least to myself).
Usually, when I introduce myself to people, I give them one of two taglines.
- Marlon, like Marlon Brando without the Brando.
- Marlon, like Nemo's dad from Finding Nemo.
I know that the latter is technically "Marlin" (ooh, like the sport fish!) but when it comes to pronunciation, it works just as well.
Around 2005, I was at a Starbucks in northern California, and after placing my order the young girl behind the register asked for my name.
Cashier: And your name?
Me: Marlon. Like Marlon Brando without the Brando.
Me: Marlon Brando. The Godfather? Streetcar?
Cashier: *blank stare* Uh, no.
Me: So, Marlon, like Nemo's dad in Finding Nemo.
Cashier: Finding What?
Barista: Finding Nemo. P. Sherrrrman 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney. Do you live under a rock?
Me: *deep breath* Marlon. M-A-R-L-O-N.
Obviously, had I just spelled my name out in the beginning, there would be no shameful expose of her lack of both a current pop culture reference and an homage to one of the greats. But I attribute my apparent whirling dervish of trivial pursuit to my shock that I was 0 for 2 in my references that, to this day, is the only instance in which neither option helped to clarify.
Most Marlons I've met have been Hispanic or Black. I've met one other Filipino Marlon, and one white Marlan. Yes, MarlAn. And he was the only Marlan I've ever met.
Occasionally, what starts as me saying "Marlon" at the register morphs into "Marlen" or even further than the original, "Marlene," to which I receive sideways glances when someone who is not a female as they anticipated walks up to the pick up counter.
Other times, What was scribbled as "Marlon" is read as "Marion," and the same confused glances are shot out. I did meet one Marion who is a guy, but he wasn't fond of his first name because he thought it was too feminine, so he went be his middle name, Lynn. True story.
My middle name has provided an additional layer of administrative awkwardness.
Until about junior high, I understood middle names to be the place for the mother's maiden name. After all, that was the structure of my name as I learned it.
Marlon de La Cruz de Leon.
"de La Cruz" was from my mother's side and "de Leon" from my fathers. (For more on the "de Leon," see February's Day 20/28: The Written Word.) Not surprisingly, when I enlisted, and I mean literally as I was enlisting aka filling out and signing all the paperwork at MEPS, I learned the true story of my middle name.
I didn't have one.
All of my papers I had signed with the full three-segment name from a few lines up. When they asked to see my Driver's License, I admitted I didn't have one. So they asked for my Social Security card, which only listed a middle initial of "D." When turning to my birth certificate for corroboration of "D." as the middle's place holder, we were faced with blank. Literally. There is no listed middle name on my birth certificate.
At that moment, I finally learned my official, legal name.
MARLON D. DE LEON
As the aforementioned Day 20 post outlines, my last name has evolved into "Deleon," but the "D." has held fast.
A few Google searches revealed that there are plenty of "Marlon Deleons" in the world, but I'm the only one consistently listed as "Marlon D. Deleon," so I hold onto it very tightly.
And so the issue of the Dee Period rears its head. Similar to Hiram Ulysses Grant, or as you may recognize it, Ulysses S. Grant, the middle initial is a floater. In Grant's case, the "S" was ill-placed by another gentleman, but then played it off saying it stood for his mother's maiden name (that sounds familiar...). As for myself, I've considered a few options
1. Righting the traditional omission and making my middle name Delacruz.
2. Leaving it as "D."
3. Picking a brand new middle name for myself that begins with the letter "D".
The third is my favorite option, and having a theatrical background and personality, I thought of one candidate that would be a wonderful conversation starter.
Listed at the top of my resume, Marlon Danger Deleon, to which I would honestly reply, "Yes, 'Danger' is my middle name."
In response to the well-known Shakesperean question, "What's in a name?" I give you this post. But before I sign off, I will share the story behind my being named "Marlon", of which I only learned in the last ten years.
My mother's name is Maria Elena. To many she became Marilyn. And if you say it fast enough (try it with a Filipino accent) and masculinize it, it becomes...Marlon.
For a while it was nice to think that I may have been named after the great actor Marlon Brando, and sometimes it still does put a smile on my face to find a thin connection with such an icon, but learning the truth behind those six letters together drove another stake into the metaphorical plot of land I know as my life.
It's fun to realize how much I can actually say about my name. I don't think it to be conceited or narcissistic, but just generally interesting. And to think that my name is an anagram for "normal"...