No, My Name is not Like the Whiskey

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.

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. 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! 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 would also love to know about the etymology of your name or any funny anecdotes you have, so leave me a comment below if you’re up for it.

3. 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!

4. If you would like to donate to support this blog I would be equally grateful!

A Not-So-Obligatory Christmas Video 

Merry Christmas to everyone. I know everyone is busy, but I wanted to share two short videos I made with my friends in college. A few years ago these bad boys went viral, but somehow got snubbed by the Oscars. And by “viral” I mean they got dozens — DOZENS — of views. 

As for the title of the videos, we weren’t illiterate, but we did live on a street named Mary. 


Here’s part 2:

**Merry Christmas, or should I say Mary Christmas! And as always, please subscribe to my blog. Thanks!

You Punched A Hole In My Wall 

Let’s take a break from all the sick stuff and talk about something very near and dear to my heart: drunken birthday debauchery.

My twenty-first birthday was, like most, an eventful and messy affair. It started rather benign — having a beer at a local brewery in Petaluma, where my family surprised me. Then a friend drove me back to my house for more beer (weird, I know). 

When night came, however, the real fun commenced. A crew of my friends took me to Guy Fieri’s Tex Wasabi restaurant in Santa Rosa. It was a great place to have my first official alcoholic beverage with dinner, and my first official alcoholic beverage with copious amounts of broken glass. True story! 

So our table decided to order sake bombs, which I can’t remember if I had tried before, but I had definitely never tried them with glass shards. I should have expected it. I mean, the name does have the word “bomb” in it — bombs make things explode, and glass explodes pretty easily. So naturally, after I placed a shot of sake on the chopsticks planking my beer glass, everyone pounded on the table and the sake fell into the beer, and then the shot glass shattered. 

Did that stop me? Absolutely not. Come on, what’s a little glass in the throat gonna do? Well, gee I don’t know, maybe create tiny cuts allowing the alcohol to more expeditiously enter my bloodstream, or so it seemed, because I got hammered. I may not have felt the pain from the cuts but I certainly felt the inebriation — even more evident by the events that would soon unfold. 

The rest of dinner consisted of a few more sake bombs (glass-free), followed by a colorful and alarmingly potent beverage, whose name now escapes me, before I tossed myself in someone’s car and tried not to vomit on the way home. 

Back at the house I passed out on the couch for a few minutes before people started arriving to party. Soon enough my single-story house was filled with people, some of whom I had never met. One such partygoer was having trouble getting past my friends at the door and felt entitled to do so since, apparently, it was also his birthday. I came upon the confrontation without knowing what was going on, I was quiet until this tall, gangly guy who looked a little old to be at a college party, uttered three powerful and very heartfelt words. 

“You’re gonna die.”

See, this is where Sober Jamison surely would have been a bit angry, but taken the high road nonetheless. I mean he did have a point after all. I am eventually going to die, everyone is going to die, right? But the guy was not shouting at Sober Jamison. He was instead yelling, mostly unintelligible words, at Drunkest-He’s-Ever-Been-Maybe-Anyone-Has-Ever-Been Jamison. And that version of myself doesn’t know the high road. 

“What? No. NO! Nahhhhh! YOU ARE GONNA DIE, bro!” were naturally the next words to come out of my mouth. Very eloquent, I know. 

Then, of course, I proceeded to plow into the five innocent people standing between me and Mr. Gangly, which lasted about thirty seconds before a good friend of mine literally picked me up and placed me in my room. Oh, but this friend made a huge, HUGE mistake! Word to the wise, never place an adult on “time-out” after death threats have been exchanged, then leave him alone with the room unlocked. 
I took a few breaths, yanked open the door, turned the hallway corner, and spotted my target. Again, there were at least five people between me and Mr. Gangly, so what did I do? What any agile (and extremely intoxicated) guy with below average height would do — I ran onto the couch and launched myself off its highest point, soaring threw the air, landing on top of more innocent people. I swung my fists everywhere, but nowhere near the guy I was trying to fight.

He, on the other hand, was a bit more accurate with his punches. Thankfully none of them got anywhere close to me, but that’s because the distance between us was too far. He seemed to realize this more than I did, and perhaps protesting the futility of the situation, he let out a loud grunt, then turned to his right and threw a haymaker straight into the wall, leaving a gaping hole much larger than one might expect to come from a fist. 

I was fuming with rage, and my anger only grew as my friends swiftly strong armed the guy outside and, no joke, threw him on top of my neighbor’s car (#SorryLolita). 

But that, my friends, is not where this story ends. Oh no! Somewhere between swallowing glass and trying to kill the guy who wanted to kill me, I actually had an amazing birthday. Eventually Sober Jamison resumed control over my life. That is, until a few months later a friend and I decided to drink WAY too much Apple Madness (a pungent homebrew made from apple juice and champagne yeast). 

We then decided to hop on our bikes and pedal to a party across town, because cycling drunk is much safer than driving drunk. I quickly learned that it was not in fact as safe as I thought. We rode through a darkened parking lot full of speed bumps and as a sober person might expect, I flew right over the handlebars not once, but twice, landing face down in the gravel with a crooked front tire landing on top of me. Fun times! 

Dirty and battered, I walked into the party with my much taller friend at my side, and within a few seconds found myself looking directly at Mr. Gangly.

In that moment a sudden rush of something, maybe alcohol, rushed through my body and I walked right up to the guy. This time there was not five people in between us, just air. 

“Hey! Remember me?” I asked. 

“Uh. Um. No, I don’t. Why?” the guy replied, genuinely confused at who I was. 

“Yeah. Okay,” I said looking for a couch to jump off so I could reach his face with my fist. “You punched a hole in my wall!”

After a few seconds I saw the memory, likely a foggy one, trigger in his mind. 

I glanced beside him and saw another student about my height. It was to be the perfect fight. Each side had a tall guy and a short guy. We were ready. I could see fists flying, bottles breaking on heads, bodies flying through windows. It was all about to go down — the next words to be spoken were sure to dictate the pace of the remaining altercation. 

“Oh. Damn. Oh man. I am so sorry. That was your house?”

“Yeah it was.”

“Bro, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to cause trouble.”

“Hmm. Usually when a guy says he’s gonna kill me, and then punches a whole in my wall, uh yeah, he means to cause trouble.”

“Man. Wait! That was you I tried to fight?”


“Oh man. I am so sorry. I was so wasted. It was my birthday.”

“It was my birthday too.”

“Man. No way. I am so sorry. I will totally pay for that wall.”

“Okay. Fine. That’d be great.”

The situation quickly defused after that and unlike our previous encounter, we were both able to drink and coexist. Throughout the rest of the night he intermittently came over to apologize several more times. And me? Well I learned a valuable lesson: I should really stop drinking. 
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