Every weekday morning, public radio listeners across Middle Tennessee tune in to the dulcet voice of WPLN morning host Jason Moon Wilkins. Presumably, when they hear him, most listeners are interested in the news he's sharing and the local stories he's playing. But eventually, one anonymous listener started wondering about Jason Moon Wilkins himself, submitting this Curious Nashville question:
If Jason Moon Wilkins was in a line arranged alphabetically by last name for the rope climb in gym class, is he in the middle or at the end?
It may seem a little like navel-gazing to answer a question about ourselves, but inquiries about JMW's name come up more often than we'd expect. We've received multiple phone calls from concerned listeners who want to know the origins of "Moon" and whether it's a middle name, two-part last name or lunar-devoted nickname.
We'll get to that in a second, but first, let's address the premise of this Curious Nashville question: Did Jason ever even have to climb a rope in gym class?
"From my recollection, Jack Hayes Elementary in Monroe, Louisiana, did indeed have a rope," Jason says. "I do remember looking at it with fear."
But the rope was a relic of gym classes past. By the time he was in school, his teacher had given up on asking people to climb it. Instead, Jason had to do something perhaps even more terrifying: "The only test of strength you knew you were going to fail in front of everybody was wrestling."
Yes, in middle school, they'd line up and wrestle each other. (To this day, he dislikes the sport.) And, in these cases, Jason was filed by "W" — at the back of the line.
In fact, he went by "Jason Wilkins" throughout his childhood. Moon is his middle name, taken from his mother's maiden name — the Moon family from northeastern Arkansas. "Growing up primarily in the '80s, I was constantly asked if my mom was a hippie," Jason says. "She was most certainly not. She was a country girl from Arkansas."
But as he got older, he found that his low voice didn't carry well during introductions in loud social settings. After telling people he was "Jason Wilkins," they would immediately change it to something else: Jesse Wilkinson. Jackie Wilson. Justin Watson.
Thus, Jason Moon Wilkins was born.
For some reason, when Jason includes the "Moon," no one misunderstands or forgets his name. The fact that a listener was curious enough about it to ask in Curious Nashville proves that the naming convention works.
Have a question for our reporters about the city? Submit it below, or see previous questions we've answered.