Words spoken at the welcoming ceremony for Devlin Hall McIntyre, 15 May 2004.
Hi everyone, we are gathered here today to officially welcome into the world our new buddy Devlin Hall McIntyre. It's an honor to be here in the welcoming committee, and I want to thank Mike and Diane for inviting us here. But Devlin is the star of the show today, and it always makes me uncomfortable to talk about someone in the third person when he's in the room, so I will address the rest of my remarks directly to Devlin. Not that he's going to know the difference, but still...
OK Devlin, here's the deal. Life's full of surprises and opportunities, like a buffet in a restaurant in a foreign country where the thing that looks so tasty might give you Montezuma's Revenge, but how else will you find out except by trying? You've got to start somewhere, and the start you're off to is a good one. Where you start is important; it matters. A lot of people will tell you that children are blank slates, but they're not. If we paint our lives as a picture, it is what we're born with that gives us our palette. So what are you? Well, your name declares it: you're one-third Momma, one-third Poppa and one-third you. That's great material to work with! I predict that you'll be creative, intelligent, funny, tremendous, exciting, befuddled, charming...But right now you're still just a baby: mostly noisy, needy and nappy. Technically, you don't need to outgrow these habits, but you're better off if you do. Trust me on this one.
What's in a name? My own name is Philip. A lot of people call me Phil, but I much prefer the longer form Philip. My name is from the Greek philo-hippias which translates to "lover of horses" - not so exciting. But the name Devlin means "brave" and "fierce", which is a name you can sink your teeth into, a name you can really work with, a name you can draw strength from. But it won't be your only source of strength. For instance, no matter what your name is, being a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies - the losingest team ever, with more losses than any other professional sports team in the world - being a Phillies fan will teach you loyalty, and how to be tough. Being a Philadelphia sports fan will teach you not to be afraid to say how you feel, even if that means booing Santa Claus. Being an Eagles fan will teach you that there are worse things than sitting outdoors, in the sleet, on a cold aluminum bench, for two and a half hours to watch your team lose. There are worse things; I just can't think of any at the moment.
Yes, Devlin, by the time you're ready to face the world on your own, Philadelphia will have bred so much character in you that you can live up to your top-shelf appellation of fierce bravery, and the trials and tribulations of the world will seem mere trifles. Laugh 'em off. Armed with your parents' accumulated wisdom, their powerhouse genes and Philadelphian grit, you'll be unstoppable. Most of us are, actually. We just aren't brave enough to realize it, and that's where your name will help you out.
Devlin, we wish for you all of the fierce joy that life has to offer, and the bravery to engage in it. You will see and know so much in your lifetime that our current fast-paced Internet and interstate highway lifestyle will eventually seem pokey and slow. Yet I still hope (and expect) that you'll have the wisdom to slow down once in a while, as we do, and make something really simple and complex and time-consuming. Like pierogies, for instance, or even a yeasted bread - something that will develop on its own time, at its own pace. Just like you, in fact. For a good start, we assemble the right ingredients, then add life - a little yeast - and everything after happens naturally.