Sobre el nombre y su lustre, por Juan Bautista Durán

Que todo nombre singular es un arma de doble filo, eso lo sabe cualquiera con mínima mundología, incluidos aquéllos de tradición familiar. Francisco Ayala da cuenta en sus memorias del caso de Segundo Serrano Poncela, controvertido personaje de la España incivil que alcanzó cierto reconocimiento literario allende los mares y a quien Ayala dedica una larga entrada. Títulos como Un olor a crisantemo o La raya oscura, ambos de relatos, aportaron al género un nuevo estilo, con una voz propia e intensa. El suyo fue un reconocimiento merecido, desde luego, a pesar de las extrañas circunstancias en que se vio envuelto antes de partir al exilio. Se lo vinculó a las matanzas de Paracuellos del Jarama por haber firmado, en su calidad de jefe de la Defensa de Madrid, las sacas de presos que salían de la Modelo en esa dirección. Si era consciente o no de lo que allí sucedía, eso se desconoce.

Juan Ramón Jiménez, al encontrarse con él en Santo Domingo, rechazó su saludo arguyendo que no se había exiliado para darle la mano a un asesino. Otros exiliados lo recibieron también con displicencia, aunque el caso del Nobel español fue el más sonado. Serrano Poncela era entonces un muchacho aguerrido de veintitantos años al que Ayala describe como vanidoso y sentimental, defectos, dice, demasiado visibles para generar tanto revuelo con su sola presencia. Destaca que en su firma nunca ponía el nombre de pila, sino tan sólo la inicial. «Seguramente —dice— el llamarse Segundo debía de provocarle vejación, a él que hubiera querido ser el primero en todo y que si le hubiesen puesto a elegir nombre hubiera quizá elegido el de Máximo.» Y añade: «Lo verdaderamente penoso de este Segundo empeñado en ser el Primero es que tal empeño suyo le había llevado a hacer el Primo tiempo atrás, en una situación que debía acarrearle las más serias penalidades para el resto de su vida.»

Ayala se jacta de haber tenido buena relación con Serrano Poncela desde el momento en que tuvo noticia de su llegada a Puerto Rico, donde entonces él vivía y donde se conocieron. «Entablamos en seguida amistad leal y continua, nunca empañada en lo sucesivo», asegura. La diplomacia parece una de las virtudes más elevadas del autor granadino, a tenor de sus ciento tres años de vida entre gente de toda ralea sin enemistades conocidas ni excesos verbales. Para ello se servía de la ficción. Y que reparara en el nombre de pila de Serrano Poncela para reflejar su personalidad da buena cuenta de su cuidado en no atajar las cosas de frente, una virtud que viene escaseando en nuestros días. La inmediatez a que nos obligamos hace que prescindamos de artes lentas como la diplomacia; y en su lugar, cuando no somos frontales, empleamos el silencio.

Tampoco Segundo es un nombre que se estile demasiado. Quizá hoy día no haya quien se llame así, en una época que tiende a quitarle solemnidad a los nombres. Son menos los nombres compuestos, en este sentido, y las abreviaturas de algunos «de toda la vida» parecen desplazar al que les dio lugar. Muchas niñas ya no son Dolores, sino Lola de nacimiento, y los habrá que se llamen Kiko o Paco en vez de Francisco, Pepa en vez de María José, Biel en vez de Gabriel. Más extendidas están las abreviaturas de Alejandro y Máximo, así como de Margarita. En el registro figuran como Álex, Max y Marga, más breves, concisos e incluso simpáticos, eso no se puede negar pues cada cual tiene su interpretación de los hechos y de los vocablos. ¿Quién es nadie para discutirle a otro si le gusta más Marga o Margarita? La abreviación de los nombres es común en todos los idiomas; y casos los habrá tantos y tan asimilados, que resultaría absurdo proponerse una mínima enumeración. Lo inaudito de hoy día es que uno nazca despojado ya de una parte de su nombre y, por lo tanto, de su tradición. ¿Qué sentido tiene Quique si a uno nunca lo llamaron Enrique, por ejemplo, ni siquiera en la consulta del médico?

El propio Ayala, a propósito de sus memorias, cuenta cómo de pequeño lo llamaban Coco y luego indistintamente Paco o Francisco, pero que su nombre completo es Francisco de Paula. No es un dato al que le dé importancia, es sólo el correr de los años y la forma en que al nacer fue bautizado. Es su Tragicomedia de hombre con espíritu, título de la que él considera su primera novela, de 1925, salvo que aquél era sin espíritu. Porque vivir es también ir despojándose del lustre familiar y de los faralaes y cariños con que llegamos al mundo, tan a menudo reflejados en el nombre. Y no tiene demasiado sentido carecer de ellos, de esa segunda piel que si no habría que inventar para poder uno arrancársela y, libre ya de ataduras, lanzarse a cuanto se proponga. Para ello hace falta astucia, no obstante, y sentido del humor, un rasgo que en momentos parece que le faltó a Serrano Poncela para dejar de ser Segundo.

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“Sobre el nombre y su lustre, por Juan Bautista Durán”
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