Jamison or Jameson? My Name is not Like the Whiskey


People always ask me: “Is your name Jamison or Jameson?”

While both are commonly used as names, let me explain which I use.

For my entire adult life, which admittedly is not nearly as long as I make it sound, I have been compared to a brand of whiskey–Jameson Irish Whiskey. If you’re at all familiar with alcohol, then you’ve probably tried it, or at least seen its green bottle somewhere.

Among the people who flock to me for no apparent reason other than my name’s similarity to a brand of Irish whiskey, are people with drinking problems, frat guys, popular kids in high school, tourists of Ireland, and pretty much anyone who has ever walked into a bar or liquor store.

These people sometimes start a conversation with me with what seems like the sole intention of noting the symbolism of my name and that surely my parents must have conceived me with Jameson on their breath. But this, of course, is not true. I was actually named after a road, Jamison Creek Road, which, you guessed it, was named after a creek.

Nevertheless, people can’t seem to stop telling me how cool it is that I’m named after Jameson. Except I’m not. It would be cool, I guess. Although I’d probably worry about the sobriety of my parents and their fondness for an alcohol that, just like the commercial says, is best consumed in moderation.

Still, these people persist and the comparison usually starts off with something like, “Oh, Jameson—like the whiskey?”

Now, imagine their disappointment when I tell them, “No, actually it’s not like the whiskey, my name’s spelled differently.” That’s just not what they want to hear; I totally get it. If my last name were DiCaprio, people would inevitably be disappointed to find out I wasn’t related to the famous actor.

The source of my frustration with the all-too-frequent comparison is similar to a much more moronic blunder that people made while I was in college. My roommate, James, would often accompany me to parties. For one reason or another, he always seemed to enter the party directly in front of me. First, he would introduce himself, “Hi, I’m James,” then I would follow in succession, “Hey, I’m Jamison.” To my initial confusion and later disbelief, someone would almost always look at me and say, “Wait … you’re James’ son?”

And that, folks, is why I cling only to a small amount of faith in humanity, especially when it involves drunk people. I mean, I get it. Kind of. “Jamison” does sort of sound like “James’ son” and James did look a bit older with his beard, but come on… his son? Really? And if you’re wondering if these intoxicated college students were joking — I wish! They were entirely serious, albeit with the look of someone from the movie Dazed and Confused.

Would I rather Jamison or Jameson?

Is it Jamison or Jameson? Well, it’s Jamison. Of course. But I realize that not everyone feels that way. Just look at the Reddit discussion in the topic—almost everyone thinks Jamison just doesn’t look right. Which is funny because, after several decades of looking my name, I think Jameson doesn’t look right.

Humor aside, there is, at least for me, an important lesson to be gained from people mistaking my name for a brand of whiskey. I love my name—always have. It has become a distinguishing feature of mine—but even if I didn’t like it, even if the world’s interpretation of my name bothered me to the point that might compel some people to change it, I would still want to keep it because its part of me, like a birthmark or the color of my hair.

I realize that people change these things about themselves, too, but not everyone. In fact, lots of people don’t remove birthmarks or change the color of their hair. That’s how I feel about my name.

My name is something I was given; I didn’t choose it, but I like it. And I live with it because I look at it as a gift. I love how unique it is; I don’t love when people ask if I spell it the same as the whiskey, but I do love the name Jamison. And I would rather have people correlate my name with a popular whiskey than confuse it with the five million other people named John in the country. (No offense to the Johns out there.)

So where am I going with all this? Good question. It brings me back to the whole “Jamison or Jameson” thing. Unlike most of my posts, this one doesn’t really have a takeaway, other than a lot of people think my name is spelled like the whiskey. And while sometimes it bothers me when people do this, other times I don’t mind it at all. I’m sure there’s a some wisdom to be found here. Perhaps: Learning to live with things that are out of your control? Sure, that’s a good practice, let’s go with that.

A few things before you go:

1. Thank you for reading! You can also listen to my blog. 

And thank you for the wonderful comments everyone left on the last post. One lovely person pointed out how awesome it is that you leave such detailed comments. I agree and I also feel bad that I can’t leave just as lengthy responses, but I definitely read every comment and do my best to respond in some form. So thank you again!

2. I am fundraising to pay my medical bills so if you’d like to help out by buying a shirt or hoodie I would be very grateful! Or please consider supporting me and my blog by donating here.

3. My memoir, WHEN FORCE MEETS FATE won an IndieReader Discovery Award for best nonfiction. If you’d like to support the book (and this blog), please order a copy and leave it a review on Amazon. The book is available from:

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28 thoughts on “Jamison or Jameson? My Name is not Like the Whiskey”

  1. Hi again Jamison.
    1. I read all of your posts. Some days I can not reply. Today is hopefully going to be better. You and your followers are very strong intelligent amazing people.
    I have a question: have you ever written about having an injury along with me/cfs fm and how it affects us? I thank you for your posts.

    2. Firstly maybe Im the only 52 year old who didn’t know there was whiskey called Jameson. Actually I found out from following you! So I guess I would be that person who would say “Nice to meet you Jameson”. I like your name and have always been a fan of different names. I have five children and when they were born there was no children around with their names. Nope never heard that name before. Awesome have a unique beautiful name for my baby then boom there are kids everywhere with the same name. Like when you buy a new car and then you see them all over the place.
    Ok so my name is Nicholette. There are a few Nicholettes and even fewer spelled with an ‘h’. Mom said if I was a boy I would be named Nicholas and that has an ‘h’ so she put one in my name. Seems the longer people know me the shorter my name gets. Parents and english cousins aunts uncles call me Nik. Friends co workers would call me Nikki. People who dont know me as well and see my name on a roll or appointment list call me Nicholette. But it is never ever Nicole… i dont know why but that strikes a nerve and then I must tell he or she I am Nicholette or Nikki NOT Nicole. When I was small I thoughr I had several actual names.

    3/4. I would love to buy a hoodie and support your blog… unemployed no health insurance fighting disability denied case denied health insurance need surgery 😟💗

    1. Hi Nikki! So refreshing to find someone unfamiliar with Jameson. And that’s a good idea to write about an injury, although I haven’t had any bad injuries. Haha I forget what my name would have been if I came out a girl. But I liked it. Nicholas is a good name!

      1. Glad you have been injury free! Reason I asked if you have written about it… I can’t seem to find any information on people with ME/CFS/FM getting hurt. Two months ago after xmas shopping with my mom (big mistake) I was in bed, in pain, dizzy for days. Fell out of bed. Now I have surgery on the 27th of Feb. Do people like us heal like normal? Wonder if I’m going to be worse after my surgery to fix my back. Guess it is hard to know. Just have to wait and see. Thanks for writing? x

  2. My last name is Wachtl. Most people can’t pronounce it. Sometimes I just tell people my name is Walker to avoid having to instruct. The German spelling includes an “e” between the t and the l. That makes it much simpler. When people try to pronounce my name it sounds something like Watch-tel instead of Walktl. Still the tl at the end is problematic. Most often people just just garble a guttural sound. The name is Czech by the way.

    I taught elementary art for many years. Students could not pronounce my name even after instruction. When they heard my last name they actually heard something else. I think it was first graders who began to call me Mr. Buffalo. I liked that. Sounds a little like Wachtl don’t you think?

    Maybe people would be more inclined to donate if they were to receive a bottle of Jamison whiskey.

  3. I felt embarrassed reading this. I scolded myself. Yes, I always associate you with the liquor. I get that it must be annoying for you.
    I scolded myself a second time when I read the “James’ son”, because I thought it was hilarious. But I see how annoying it must have been for you.

    I totally catch your drift about changing things that make you YOU. I like my name, too, and would not change it, but when I see people change their common names to something silly because they want to be original…

  4. Although I’m familiar with Jameson whiskey I never once thought of your name in connection with it (probably because I have a pernickety approach to spelling and realised the difference, which also makes me applaud your spelling of whiskey with an e, as in the Irish kind opposed to Scotch) – but all power to your parents for figuring you’d be proud of your unusual name, which incidentally I like very much!

  5. My name is Cheryl but it’s never pronounced that way. It’s easier for people to call me Carol. I’m used to it and the spelling, I just give up. At least my last name now is easy, Wood, but it’s forever being spelled and spoken as Woods. So I love your name and never thought of the whisky. I liked the blog title, jamisonwrites and your purpose for blogging.

  6. My father used to call me by my middle name when in public. I would get so embarrased when he’d call out in the supermarket “McCarthy?!” I hated it because I thought it was wierd. I told everyone my middle name was Marie. Now I am proud becuase it is a family name-however it doesn’t go with my married name! I Can’t win!

  7. When you grow up as a little sister with a name that is a derivative of your older sister’s name… it can cause some identity issues. But, it’s also a tradition in my Mom’s family. My Mom is one of four Pauls (Paulette, Paul Jr. Pauline, Paula), my grandmother – one of 13 Es, great-grandmother – one of 17 Zs. So, we ended up with Melissa and Melinda. And most of my life – I’ve been called Melissa. I always loved that I had a unique name, I didn’t go to school with another Melinda until high school 🙂 But when asked about the meaning of your name and it doesn’t really have one other than since my sister was named Melissa, mine needed to be similar and my Dad didn’t like the name Melaine…
    So, years ago I asked my Dad why he thought of Melinda. He said he heard it in a book of poems my Mom had gotten and the name stuck with him and if my middle name hadn’t been a family name, it would’ve been Mae. So, at 23 I learned I was actually named after the poem Melinda Mae by Shel Silverstein, if even just because the name stuck.

  8. In Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, there is a superstition that it is very bad luck to name a child after someone iliving. There is even a curse in Yiddish that gies something like, “May a young child be named after you.” My parents decided to rebel, and so my father’s name is Victor and my full name is Victoria. And now I have a million health problems. Coincidence? HMMMMM. I wonder sometimes. 😜 If it helps, I don’t drink, so when I first saw your name I didn’t think of whiskey. It must have been annoying to have a lot of frat boys saying, “Dude, that’s so cool that you’re named after a whiskey!” Ick.

  9. Hi Jamison, good to see you in such a good and humorous mood. Imagine, showing up for first grade with the name, Winford Raden Adams Jr.! Speaking of being drunk, I think my grandmother must have been to ever name my father this same name.

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