Alabama Hamilton

My sister’s name is September, and today is her 32nd birthday. Yes, that’s right. My parents named my sister September even though she was born in January, and she has consequently suffered years of obvious questions. Of course, these are the same people who named their only son Ranger.

I know you’re wondering, how the hell did I end up with the boring name, because everyone who knows about my siblings mindlessly blurts out, “How did you get stuck with the boring name?” as if I had anything to do with it or haven’t ever heard that question before.

I really hate that question. It’s like asking someone, “How did you get so ugly?”

Considering the amount of teasing my brother and sister endured during childhood, I’ve never really felt cheated that I got stuck with the boring name. September lucked out, really, because in early 1970, a week before she was born, my father decided that they should name her Mangis Colorado whether she ended up being a boy or a girl.


There’s no city in Colorado called Mangis. There is, however, a horse named Mangis, and this horse was apparently my father’s favorite character in a movie about someone in the Old West who shot a lot of people.

Ranger was named after a box of cigars my father saw at a truck stop in the middle of Arkansas. It took my mother two weeks to talk my Dad down from Ranger Cigars to just Ranger. He finally agreed that Ranger Cigars in its entirety would be a bit suspicious since Mormons aren’t supposed to smoke. It would be like a Catholic family naming their child Nurse Orthotricyclen, or something.

When I finally came along in 1975 I think either Dad was just exhausted, what with having to name two whole children before me, or Mom subconsciously knew that I would be a special case, and that a peculiar name would really only make things worse.

I mean, seriously. Who wouldn’t make fun a sixth grade bra-stuffing, know-it-all named Alabama Hamilton? I know I would.