Welcome To Earnest Words!

My name is Ernest Wayne Nicastro. My father chose Ernest to honor a beloved cousin, who died young, that he spent Summers with as a child. My mom was a big John Wayne fan. I can even do a decent impersonation of “The Duke.” That said, I’ve never been particularly enamored with my name. I suppose circumstances have had a lot to do with that.

I entered grammar school right about the time that a certain Fidel Castro rose to power in Cuba. My classmates, even teachers to some extent, had fun with Nicastro. “Oh, like Castro in Cuba, right?” Aside from that, there was the dorky-looking kid on My Three Sons named Ernie.

During my high school years another high-profile Ernie entered the national consciousness: Ernie, from Bert and Ernie and Sesame Street fame. “Hey Ernie, where’s Bert?” Yep, I’ve heard that one, oh, at least a couple (thousand) times. Segue to my adult years and along comes  the obnoxious, goofy, fictional character and advertising pitchman Ernest P. Worrell, memorably portrayed by the late Jim Varney. In addition to a whole slew of commercials which aired with great frequency in my viewing area, Varney starred in a number of Ernest movies, including such cinematic “masterpieces” as Ernest Goes To Camp, Ernest Goes To Jail, Slam Dunk Ernest and Ernest Scared Stupid.

You getting the picture? Ernest/Ernie + Nicastro = Not cool. And, well, we all like to think of ourselves as cool, right?

Despite all this, there have been times when I’ve made my name pay off for me. A number of years ago, I wrote and performed an award-winning speech about the trials and tribulations of going through life with my name. Entitled The Triviality of Being Ernest, this speech took top prize in Toastmasters International’s Humorous Speech Contest for District 40. It was great making people laugh.

My biggest laugh came, fittingly, at the end of the speech.  After about six minutes recounting the trials, tribulations and triviality of going through life with my un-mellifluous moniker I dramatically announced my personal re-branding using the Italian pronunciation of my last name:”Introducing for the first time, in public, ‘E. Nicastro!’”

After the big announcement I pointed out the “cool factor” associated with being Italian, including: the popularity of Italian food and the success and acclaim of certain Italian-American athletes and other famous Italians. Then, I closed with the following:

“I chose ‘E’ because it’s short, simple, very difficult to misspell or mispronounce and it’s good psychology. When I hear the initial ‘E’ I think of ‘E’ as in exciting, ‘E’ as in enticing, ‘E’ as in entertaining…and of course (pointing at the temple of my head a la The Scarecrow from the Wizard of OZ ) ‘E’ as in…intelligent.”

Whadda’ you think? Oh. Well. Uh, I guess you had to be there.

So here we are in 2010 and “E.” has decided to enter the ranks of the bloggerati and once again I may have found a positive way to use my not so cool first name. Earnest Words works as the title for my blog for a couple of different reasons. First, it’s obviously a homophone for my name and some people spell their name that way and these are my words so that all adds up nicely. Second, and more importantly, is that the phrase itself states exactly what I plan to present here: earnest words.

Within these earnest words – from me, you, and others – the aim is that you will find thoughts, ideas, tips, advice and recommendations that you can use to advance your career, grow your business or both.

Go to dictionary.com and you’ll find the following definition of earnest:

  1. serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous: an earnest worker.
  2. showing depth and sincerity of feeling: earnest words; an earnest entreaty
  3. seriously important; demanding or receiving serious attention.
    –noun
  4. full seriousness, as of intention or purpose: to speak in earnest.

Earnest does, in fact, describe me quite well. I do bring an earnestness to any project I work on, any endeavor I undertake. Earnest, come to think of it, also applies to most of the characters John Wayne played – and, to the man himself. Now that’s a connection I’ve never made until this very moment. Wow! Blogging has paid off for me already! So maybe mom and dad knew what they were doing after all. Probably not, but it’s nice to think that.

My name is Ernest Wayne Nicastro and I thank you for reading and for letting me share a few earnest words with you in this blog’s first official post. Please check back soon.

That’s my take. What’s yours?

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