What’s in a Name?
With all the songs she’s composed to sing to me,* it kind of makes sense that I’m the one and only Joey. But, surprise: that’s not true! ‘Cause there’s the whole story about how I got my name and how it was somebody else’s first (I know–that’s a weird idea to try to get your head around).
Some humans–especially at breeding farms–scatter names all over the place like it’s the easiest thing ever to name us, and I’ve known horses who got stuck with some real name-and-a-half kinda names, real whoppers that make me think, what?? And some get stuck with just-dumb names. I mean, I’d never say anything to him ’cause he’s my buddy, but, “Big’un”? Course he’s registered like me, so he’s probably got one of those whopper names, too, but nobody seems to know what it is anymore. Most registered horses would just as soon their registered name didn’t get out, like the way a lot of humans don’t want to talk about their middle names, or the way some humans go by a barn name like “Butch” or “JR.” But I’m even proud of my registered name. And here’s why.
There’s this very excellent human everyone loves named Joe Sakic. He’s a hockey player. (I don’t know what a hockey is, but I love to play, too, so he’s for certain the best kind of human!)
Some humans who don’t know the hockey part much either except like that Warren Zevon song goes (“Hit Somebody!”), think to name a horse after a hockey player doesn’t make sense. But my human says I have the proudest name ever, since this Joe Sakic represents everything that is beautiful in athleticism–grace, agility, speed, and the artistry of supreme skill. And he also represents everything that’s beautiful in human character–honesty, humility, compassion, and the integrity of hard effort and fine example. Besides which (and maybe I shouldn’t say–ha-ha!), I know she thinks he’s almost as handsome as me! (So maybe she’s in love a little… She loves me, so that makes sense.) His nickname–and mine, sometimes–is “Gentleman Joe.”
So here it is, how I got my name. I’d known my human over two months before this even happened, and I knew the whole time that there was all this puzzling going on, and I was waiting and all anticipating ever since I’d figured out that my name wasn’t “The Preemie.” But nothing happened for a long time, ’cause this was a Big Decision and really hard for her ’cause it had to be Right.
So it’s two-plus months I’m waiting for my name, when she and her mom-human go to this game called a scrimmage where these hockey players on this team called Avalanche just play each other for charity and fun (isn’t this great already? I love to pretend to compete just for fun!). And the excellent Joe Sakic gets this puck-thing and he’s racing down the ice (I don’t dare race on ice, so I’m all shivery and impressed just thinking about it), and the whole crowd of humans that’s watching starts chanting, “Jo-EY! Jo-EY! Jo-EEY!!” And my human and her mom-human are chanting, too…when my human has what her species calls A Blinding Flash of the Obvious where it’s like the whole universe is exclaiming RIGHT AT YOU. She looks at her mom and says, “I could name him ‘Joey.’“ And her mom says back (sounding just like my Mom), “I can’t believe you didn’t think of that a long time ago.”
And ha! woo-hoo!–I had my name!
The rest of my name–the registered part, “Burnaby Joe”–comes from the hockey Joey’s early moniker from his hometown in British Columbia (which is maybe the most beautiful place in the world), where he’s so beloved and revered they changed their Way to his.
Don’t know what the first Joey would say about a second Joey being around, but I knew right away that being the second Joey in this case is a very proud and excellent thing to be.
See also She Sings to Me.