The Vivacity of His Ideas

Name: Kyle
Origin: Gaelic
Meaning: Strait of Water
Origin: English
Meaning: Strait of Water
Name: Damien
Origin: Greek
Meaning: Possibly “to tame, subdue,” although the Greek root is close to the word for “spirit.”

He wore his red robe/cape the first day of school. He didn’t cry when his mommy left, or when he wet himself while sitting in the duck-duck-goose circle. But when Ms. Mackey took away his cape to let it air dry on the playground fence, he accused her of impaling his friend.
During Round Robin, Kyle Damien closed his eyes. He’d close his eyes tight like a prayer, his eyelids quivering and his eyebrows dipped inward. One time, Ms. Mackey mistook Kyle’s shutting his eyes for taking an early nap (naptime wasn’t until after morning snack.) Another time, she mistook his shut eyes for boredom and so sent him to time out in the corner, adding, “If you’re going to waste class time being bored Kyle, then you’re going to pay for it with your playtime.” He stomped into the corner, shouting, “Kyle Damien, Kyle Damien to you!”
Imaginary friends, shouting, defiance – Ms. Mackey noted all these behaviors in her classroom log. When he entered first grade, his records followed him. Dagmar was required by the school administration to keep a weekly log.
Friday, April 1st: Kyle hid under table during Daily Calendar. Left him alone, hoping that he would come over when he heard all the fun we were having. Instead, he placed his hands over his ears and stayed under table through Song of My Kitten and drew a picture of what I presume is himself with 3 heads. (Kyle knows nothing of April Fools).
Monday, April 4th: Kyle taped his 3-headed self on the community fridge. I let him. None of the other children are aware that the drawing is of him.
Friday, Nov. 7th: After school, Kyle popped his head into classroom, said, “I’m sorry about your Father,” and then ran back outside. (Apparently, Kyle found out that my Father had passed away. He wrote a couple of sentences in his journal at the after school program that he was sorry for Ms. Dagmar who no longer has a dad).
Monday, Nov. 10th: Came in with the number 01666 written in marker on back of left hand. Asked Kyle to wash it off, but he wouldn’t. He said that for now on he wants to be called 01666 rather than by his name. I said, “Kyle Damien, your name, Kyle Damien, is so lovely. Why do you want to be called a number?” He said, “I don’t want to be called, a number, I want to be called 01666.” When prodded further, he wouldn’t explain. I allowed him to keep the number written on his hand. What was I to do?
Before the school year was even up, Kyle was evaluated, and it was decided that his defiant nature could benefit from a year (or more) in The Room. Certainly other children were unruly, but the range of Kyle’s behavior spanned from one end of the spectrum to the other, leading the school to the conclusion that perhaps his troubles stemmed from a core schizophrenic nature .

Kyle Damien’s parents probably meant no harm in naming him Kyle Damien. Perhaps they named him after a favorite uncle, or ancestor traced back generations ago in their family tree. Whatever the case, what are the odds of choosing both a first and middle name that both connote something of a troublesome nature? It isn’t clear when and how it happened, but the characteristics attributed to individuals named Kyle or Damien, usually of the male gender, are far from favorable. A close examination of Stark School records reveal that out of the fifty Kyles and twenty Damiens that have graced the elementary school since its establishment in 1992, nearly 90% have had some type of personality disorder (and it goes without saying, had spent a good portion of their school years in The Room). Go beyond the grounds of just this one school, and statistics reveal that only one or two out of dozens of Kyles and Damiens have gone onto brilliance – or at least a relatively normal adult path. Whatever the reason for these names veering far from their original meanings (one does not think of tranquil straits of water or spirits tamed when thinking upon the name Kyle or Damien), the point is that they have.
(Excerpt from Slumber Citizens)

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