Ubiquitous Mikes

Today, when you encounter a baby in the U.S., chances are better than even it will be named Aiden or Sophia or Jacob or Zoe. Their parents are quite likely Brandon or Jessica or Andrew or Ashley.

Toward the ebb of the baby boom generation, pick any dozen kids at random and you'll find a Mike, Debbie, Steve, Mary, David or Susan.

I was never the only Mike in my class/peer group/clique.

Over the years, teachers, scout leaders, other assorted and sundry authority figures used variations of my name to distinguish me from this vast sea of omnipresent Mikes:

Matson, Mike M., Michael, Mike Matson, Hey You.

As I grew older and expanded my circle, Mikes remained ubiquitous. You can't swing a dead cat in my generation without popping a coupla Mikes.

In my late teens/early 20's, my best friend was named Mike. So my homies hung a new tag on me. (Apparently they couldn't tell us apart. Musta been the long hair). He got to remain Mike. I became Michael J., indicative of the era. Think

Saturday Night Fever

characters. Double J, Bobby C.

Since my middle name is James, Michael J. made sense.

I guess it coulda been worse. They coulda called me Robby Benson.

The BV trailer park still exists. Today

I saw a cat there named Aiden.

At the time of my birth, my parents and then 2-year old sister lived in a 16-foot trailer (We couldn't call it a "mobile home," it wasn't big enough) in the Blue Valley Trailer Court in Manhattan, Kansas. Dad was earning a degree in agronomy during the Bob Boozer era at K-State. EMAW.

Joining us in our expansive portable palace was a cat.

Named Mike.

You can see where this is going.

Hold that thought.

My sister, Viki Beth, has the distinct honor and high privilege of being named after our grandmothers, Victoria and Elizabeth. My younger brother, David, can trace his name to a righteous King of Israel, acclaimed warrior and musician. An Old Testament hero.

A freaking Psalm writer, for God's sake.

Me?

(Meow.)

I can imagine the conversation on December 5, 1957, at the Riley County Hospital.

Mom: "He's so adorable, our little bundle of joy. What shall we name him?"

Dad: "Hmm... I kinda like that trailer cat's name."