22 March 2009

Why Jams O' Donnell?

I was inspired to chose the name Jams O’ Donnell because of an episode in the Poor Mouth. In it the main character Bonaparte O’ Coonassa, is at his first day at school:

We all gathered in the schoolhouse. We all sat on benches, without a word or a sound for fear of the master. He cast his venomous eyes ever the room and they alighted on me where they stopped. By jove! I did not find his look pleasant while these two eyes were sifting me. After a while he directed a long yellow finger at me and said: “Phwat is yer nam?”

I did not understand what he said nor any other type of speech which is practised in foreign parts because I had only Gaelic as a mode of expression and as a protection against the difficulties of life. I could only stare at him, dumb with fear. I then saw a great fit of rage come over him and gradually increase exactly like a rain-cloud. I looked around timidly at the other boys. I heard a whisper at my back: “Your name he wants!”

My heart leaped with joy at this assistance and I was grateful to him who prompted me. I looked politely at the master and replied to him: “Bonaparte, son of Michelangelo, son of Peter, son of Owen, son of Thomas's Sarah, grand-daughter of John's Mary, grand-daughter of James, son of Dermot…”

Before I had uttered or half-uttered my name, a rabid bark issued from the master and he beckoned to me with his finger. By the time I had reached him, he had an oar in his grasp. Anger had come over him in a flood-tide at this stage and he had a businesslike grip of the oar in his two hands. He drew it over his shoulder and brought it down hard upon me with a swish of air, dealing me a destructive blow on the skull. I fainted from that blow but before I became totally unconscious I heard him scream:

“Yer nam, said he, is Jams O'Donnell!

So there you have it. I hope you sleep easier with this knowledge in your head. It’s like will never be there again….

21 comments:

PowersTwinB said...

I am positive I am one of the many, many people who wondered at your blog name and the origin! Then you also tell us where the name "The Poor Mouth" comes from! I appreciate that you re-posted these two posts, so THANK YOU! It would be neat to have many of my regular blogs explain where their names come from. My maiden name was Powers...soooo many years ago (38) and I am a twin, the second, so thus, PowersTwinB2. Hope youre feeling better...youre in my prayers for a speedy recovery!

Claudia said...

Are you telling me that you're not jams, born Bonaparte O'Coonassa? It sounded so romantic. I'm very disappointed. Who are you, Sir? Are you(at least)Irish born, and speaking Gaelic(I hope)? I've been thinking of moving to Corkadaragha where (with my meagre retirement allowance) I would be rich among the poor. Not that I would ever gloat...

I still wish you well, Anonymous. :)

jams o donnell said...

Ah thanks Powerstwin. Sadly I'll be in this cast for another month sadly

Corkadoragha exsits everywhere Claudia! Sadly I am neither Irish born or an Irish speaker. My pareents were and so I spent a lot of happy holidays there and I hold an Irish passport

Claudia said...

Re: Corkadoragha...Unfortunately true! In a way, we all want to be a little bit Irish. You're more than than most of us.:) Take care!

jams o donnell said...

As a friend of my dad said when asked what would he be if he werent Irish.. others said American, Australian etc. He said "Ashamed!"

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I thought it was your real name!

jams o donnell said...

I may change it by deed poll welshcakes!

Sarge Charlie said...

I asked you a long time ago where I could find Corkadorogha, Ireland and you told me it was a place in a novel, now I know the rest of the story.

jams o donnell said...

THere you go Sarge!

Kay Dennison said...

I love it!!!! And Jams O'Donnell suits you grandly!!!

jams o donnell said...

Ah glad you like it Kay!

The Lone Beader said...

Finally, you have answered my questions!!!!

jams o donnell said...

Glad I answered that LB. Next to tell about my avatar

Maddy said...

So glad you have an Irish passport, that's a ticket to the world guaranteed.
Cheers

jams o donnell said...

It certainly does have its benefits Maddy!

A Free Man said...

I've been wondering about this since I landed on your blog a long time ago Thanks for the backstory!

jams o donnell said...

There you go AFM!

Mojo said...

That bit where he's reeling off his name reminds me of Antonio Banderas in The 13th Warrior.

Can't imagine gettin bashed in the head with an oar for not understanding a question though. Gotta believe there'd be some hell to pay for that one.

jams o donnell said...

AH not in those days Mojo.. Cororal punishment wasn't banned in English scool until teh 80s

Ardent said...

What a wonderful story! I will now always immediately smile when I visit this site as I muse over the story of your name.
:)

jams o donnell said...

Glad you like it Ardent!