Yes. That’s my name.
It used to bug me a whole lot when someone would use my last name as a first name. I never understood why so many people wanted to use a last name for a first name (see what I did there?). I think it bugged me the most when I was speaking with a Communications professor during my first semester of my freshman year of college. He pulled me aside and said, “You do know you didn’t answer one of the questions on your exam – right?” I did know this. I also knew that without a shadow of a doubt that I was going to get the bonus questions right. I wound up with a 95%. “When I saw that you didn’t answer that question, I said, ‘Ack! Todd!!!?!!” and he playfully smacked me with the small stack of papers he was holding. It bugged me. A lot. The guy didn’t even know my name.
Wait a minute.
Todd is my name. It’s not my first name, but it’s my name. It was shortly after this conversation that I realized that I was making too big of a deal out of something that really wasn’t that big of a deal. I mean…there are much worse things I could be called – like Toad or Toddler (oh so creative, huh?) or Porcupine or a last name that really doesn’t sound very nice when it’s said by itself (I’m sure you can think of a name or two like this).
No, we’re not related
Over the years, I’ve been asked if I’m related to (InsertFirstNameHere) Todd. I always feel bad when I look at them with a blank stare and say “I have absolutely no idea.” As far as I know, there’s no family connection with Gary Todd, Chuck Todd, or even Sweeney Todd. And no, I don’t think I have any connection with Matt Todd, the rugby player. But I think it would be cool if I did.
The best I can tell is that our family has strong roots in Kentucky (I’m glad my ancestors finally wised up and moved further north). We can also trace our ancestry back to Scotland. Or maybe Britain. Or maybe both. I’m not entirely sure. But I did discover that there’s a possibility that our family might have had a motto:
It behooves us to live.
I kinda dig that.
Todd means fox. Either that means our family is “sly as a fox” or has a history of red hair, which makes us look like foxes. Unless you count my gray hair as silver. Then we’re silver foxes.
Why yes, we ARE related
There are two rather famous Todds that, to best of my knowledge, are connected with my family. One is connected with 100% certainty. He was Grandpa’s brother: Earl Todd. Uncle Earl was a POW after the Battle of the Bulge. He was given a heroes’ welcome when he and his colleagues returned to the States. He was awarded the Purple Heart. He never talked about it. Ever. I talked about it a little bit more in this post a few years ago.
The other relative is a little more famous and a little more distant. For years, we thought that Mary Todd Lincoln had no relation to us. Somewhat recent research has led us to conclude that yes, she is a distant relative – a cousin removed several times. Knowing how eccentric and paranoid and genuinely disliked she was, I used to shy away from this connection. While she isn’t directly in my bloodline, I have a connection with such an important, yet ultimately tragic, story. Aiden and Alyson think that’s really neat. Too bad the kids at school have never believed them.
You can call me Todd
So it doesn’t bother me very much if you call me Todd. Just don’t call me Mark. Or Mike. Or Scott. You’re welcome to call me Todd if you have to. I’m kind of proud of it.
Because that’s my name.