Two middle names?

Yeah, I know. Whenever people see I have two middle initials, D. and J. — whether in my email signature, or in a Crimson article where they unnecessarily insisted on printing them both — they have questions.

It’s surprising how having two middle names makes you stand out. People tend to assume I’m from some dynastic wealthy family hellbent on preserving our hegemony by any means necessary.

Fortunately, that’s not the case. I have two middle names because my father loved his father, and because of sports. As a man who loves his dad, the first reason resonates. As an uncoordinated, gawkward pile of disconnected bones, fatally incapable of sports, the latter doesn’t.

My full name is Gary David Jay Gerbrandt.

David is the man my dad first called his dad, David Gerbrandt. My grandmother, Norma, married Gary Hurst after David left the family when my dad was a boy. Gary is my namesake—the man who raised my dad, who he is also proud to call dad. (My parents split naming duties by baby gender, not knowing what they had until I popped out of the womb; had I been a girl, my mom would have named me Grace, after her mom.)

David died on March 26, 2000. This obituary was printed in the March 30, 2000 edition of the Calgary Herald. I hope that tree’s still alive.

Jay is a more fun story. On October 24, 1992, the stormy night I was born, the Toronto Blue Jays made history in Game 6 as the first Canadian team to win the World Series. The game played in the delivery room as my mom worked through labor; my dad, who regrets it to this day, had given up on the game and was out of the room when the birds did it. (He and I both made sure not to make the same mistake with the Raptors’ history-making winning game over the Warriors, although my watching it through the window at Abe’s Pizza on a sidewalk in Berkeley was more of a coincidence than a deliberate action.) They would go on to win the Series again the day before my first birthday in 1993, and since nobody played the World Series in 1994, that arguably gives them three years of the title. #gojaysgo