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what's in a name?
by andrea augustine

Let me preface by saying that I am a musician, mom, songwriter, and nut-job with a good heart who loves movies. So when I was naming my son, I decided upon honoring his Grand Father by giving my son his name: Forrest. I caught a lot of flack for it from people who would follow that up by saying: "Run, Forrest, Run" (and I believe that he will hear that phrase as much as Adam Kraemer has to say K-R-A-E... every time someone asks him to spell his name). And some would say that as a name choice, Forrest was just plain "doofey" (a word that I think is not only uncreative, but completely inaccurate). But they just don't get it. That's OK.

By now, it should be obvious that I'm going to visit the movie Forrest Gump. Just about everyone has seen Forrest Gump , and if you haven't, you're either too young to remember when it came out, or you have no respect for Tom Hanks. Being a child like adult, I still enjoy viewing movies that I love over and over at different points in my life, and sometimes even in rapid succession...say 3 times in one day if I have a day off from being Mom. Forrest Gump is one of the movies I've seen more times than I remember. My first impression, and final decision on the fictional character was, "Now, there's a man that talks slow, spent his child hood crippled, and then grew into one of the finest and most intellectually and emotionally beautiful people on earth.". That's right, I said intellectual. Let me explain why.

Personal growth happens in various stages, just as physical growth happens. I'll use an example from my own life. I hit puberty between the ages of 8 and 9 and am presently the same hight and weight that I was at that age. However, I am a woman of 30 now, and I have had two children, so while my body is the same size, and my face hasn't changed dramatically, I certainly look far more mature and womanly than I did then. If I didn't that would just be creepy. Forrest Gump out grew (and out-ran) his crippled legs of youth. Hence, a physical growth that dramatically changed over time... he had the same legs, but he could use them to do things he never could as a child.

Now for mental growth. Again, I'll begin with an example from my own life. In high school, I sucked at math. In fact, I had tutors, and spent way too much time talking to my teacher about how to memorize and then apply algebraic equations. I was, at best a C- student and most of the time got D's in Algebra. My mother will testify. When I took Algebra again in college, something clicked. I don't know what it was, but I understood algebra and felt totally in rhythm with it. I got all A's and ended up tutoring other students. So, now back to Mr. Gump. Forrest was diagnosed as being mentally retarded. And to the viewer, he certainly sounded like he was. But, riddle me this, Batman. How could a retarded man figure out how to play ping-pong so damn fast, and how could a retarded man know exactly how to achieve baffling war hero status, and at that, how could a retarded man know a love so great and strong through Jenny, if he could not think quickly and deeply behind his slow speech. Some say "savant". I say, that's probably accurate, but in addition, he was simply a late bloomer and was misunderstood based on his verbal presentation. Einstein couldn't speak until he was three.

The final example, and in a movie that runs for a solid 3 hours that has much in the way of historical journey, I will just jump to the end. We see Forrest as a Father. The way in which he was able to love his son, reach his son, nurture his son, and successfully raise a child in this crazy modern world all by himself is a feat that a truly retarded person could not achieve. My best friend's sister has down syndrome, which is genuinely a form of mental retardation. She will never be able to raise a child on her own, if she ever, in fact, mothers one. She's also one of the most beautiful and kind souls I've ever known. She just will never out grow her genetic condition.

In short, I feel that my intention was to name my son a strong, beautiful, and sentimental name. It just so happens that between Robert Zemekis, Winston Groom, and Eric Roth, a great movie was made about a character who wasn't "smart". That's absolutely correct. He wasn't smart, he was brilliant. I feel that the name my son was given will serve him well, and to those who tease him, I feel sure that he will understand that they "just don't get it" as he grows older. And what could be wrong with that?


Andrea Augustine, of Bloomington IN, by way of Boston, MA by way of Cape Cod, MA feels an affinity with the song "I've Been Everywhere" by Geoff Mack. She is a working musician, mother, and now a pseudo-writer. She will be recording her first solo album "I Got Nothing" in September, and hopes someone somewhere will like it. If you want to know more go to her MySpace page: www.myspace.com/andreaaugustine or here: Andrea Fiedler's Facebook profile

more about andrea augustine


your legend. big fish.
day in the life
by andrea augustine
topic: film
published: 3.5.08

what dreams may come?
do you dare?
by andrea augustine
topic: film
published: 3.17.08


adam kraemer
2.27.08 @ 11:00a

Mmmm... K-R-A-E...

I wonder how often people tell Forrest Whitaker to "Run, Forrest, Run!" I'm guessing not very.

andrea augustine
2.27.08 @ 11:22a

I would be running from him...

russ carr
2.27.08 @ 12:33p

He's a big man.

sandra thompson
3.3.08 @ 9:56a

IMFO Forrest is a beautiful name for a boy child. I'm also very glad to find another nut who sees Forrest the same way I do. Sorry to be so late with this but I missed the email the first time.

andrea augustine
3.5.08 @ 1:58a

I don't know what IMFO stands for....read "Boston Speak" here (dialect): Isn't Magic Fuckin'Oowsomm? Yes. Forrest is a great name, movie, character, and place to go when the world gets to you (spelling not considered here). Nuts unite. Sorry is as sorry does... (far reach). Thanks for reading!

ken mohnkern
3.6.08 @ 12:19p

IMFO = "In my effing opinion"?

andrea augustine
3.6.08 @ 12:24p

Thanks for the education in computer-speak.

andrea augustine
3.6.08 @ 12:25p

Hey Ken. I'm going to read you now

andrea augustine
3.6.08 @ 12:31p

Ken Rocks. Read everything he writes.

ken mohnkern
3.6.08 @ 3:59p

Later tonight I'm going to read everything Andrea's posted.

(I was just guessing about IMFO.)

andrea augustine
3.6.08 @ 4:34p

Hey, Thanks Ken! I'll be in the studio recording a soon to be hit album with Red Eye Max... They're really cool. WOOO!

adam kuehn
3.18.08 @ 9:24p

I love the name Forrest, but I have to say I really hate that movie. I'm not sure why, since it clearly appeals to plenty of people. Your point about brilliant-but-not-smart people is a good one, though, and something I believe in whole-heartedly. I think I can safely say that I "get it", even if I can't relate to the film version. Good luck to you and your well-named son. I hope your Forrest can take the time to befriend a person with real-life mental challenges.

That would truly be a gift.

andrea augustine
3.18.08 @ 9:43p

He will, and already has at the tender age of 1.5 yrs. My best friend's sister has downs syndrome (as I mentioned). Thank you for your thoughts.

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