A Bongles By Any Other Name.... / by VH McKenzie



To look at this sweet-faced rasta, the name "Bongles" doesn't immediately come to mind. Particularly since the word "bongles" is not in my vocabulary.

Ok, in patois maybe "bongles" is a substitute for "bundles." Still. I'm just sayin. Bundles? Bundles of WHAT?

Oh. Ok. Maybe I shouldn't ask.

I read once that a Jamaican's Original Name, the name 'pon de berf SUR-fi-ticket (birth certificate) is a tiny treasure that is locked up after the day it is given, as if in a precious box, rarely to be seen again. Maybe not until the next rite of passage such as a graduation or a marriage.

Or even death.

On those special occasions, the box is opened and the name is gingerly extracted for a few hours and then quickly put away again. For the rest of your days, all manner of names are worn, either like a pair of comfortable shoes that last and last and last. Or like a closetful of cloaks, which change with the weather.

I know a

Bigga Ford -- something to do with a vehicle, seriously.

Tikka Chest -- has a thick, stout torso.

Trote -- has a large goiter upon his throat.

Bumpy -- yes, has a large, continually-growing bump on his forehead.

Reggie (original name "Cleveland") -- for a kinship with the role of Eddie Murphy in 48 Hours.

Scatta Shot -- a tendency to bounce quickly from place to place, not necessarily with any intention to do so.

Junior -- I must know two dozen "Juniors".

Scallion -- he's quite skinny.

Revvy -- something to do with a decidedly NON-pastor like existence.

Rough -- he could sleep on a 6-foot 2 x 4, set upon two piles of bricks and be quite comfortable. And if he dropped to the ground, he'd keep on sleeping.

Blacka -- skin dark like the night.

You get the idea. You are who you are.

I could go on and on. Even to include one of my mother-in-law's yard pupppies. Can't recall what, if any, name it was given at birth, but after it was stolen by a neighbor and Miss Una had to pay a ransom of one Jamaican dollar and fifty cents to get her back, well, you know the rest.

Th dog is forever known as "Dollah Fifty".