Saturday, January 31, 2009

what's in a name anyway?

Don't you ever wonder about names? Seriously. Your parents labor over the "perfect" name for you, strap you with something that will then pretty much define the rest of your existence, and don't even consult you about it. And then, on top of that, if you are lucky enough to own a name that the general population can both spell and pronounce, you start getting called by other names right away. No wonder we are all a little crazy.

I was thinking about this today for some reason, as my 6 year old friend Pinky was calling me Iss. Not even Auntie Iss any more. She is, after all, a grownup now. So I ask you Dear Readers, think about what you have been called and who called you it. Does anyone call you that now? How does it make you feel?

Here's my list:

Elizabeth - by everyone I ever knew until I was 14 and now only by my grandparents friends and a few family members. I thought it was too stuffy for 14 and had to change it forthwith.

Liz - by those I demanded to be called that by at 14. I couldn't think of anything better at the time, and I have to say, I've never really loved the name. Be careful what name you choose for yourself.

Sunshine - by many of my grandparents' generation and periodically by others throughout my days. I won an award at summer camp for being "the most sunny of girls." Apparently someone else won the "talks more than any other camper" award and that was my consolation award. Everyone wins you know.

Lizzie - by all those co-workers at Mt Snow and their friends and a few life friends who never thought to call me anything else. And my Mom when she's in a good mood. It's Elizabeth Anne when she's not.

Lizzie-Doodle - I forget who started that one, but it kept resurfacing.

Doodle - thank you Carol, you are the only one. Although your son tries to call me that sometimes, it just doesn't sound right coming from him.

Cruella - as in DeVille - by everyone who couldn't pronounce my maiden name and thought it was hilarious that the 42 letter Welsh name actually rhymed with something they could relate too. Great, now I'm a Disney character. I tried not to make it a personality trait...

Lizzie-Beans - by the friends I made when I first came back here from VT many years ago. When I see them around town, they still call me that. Thank you Amy for starting that one.

Auntie Iss - by Pinky & Stinky. Pinky started when she couldn't say Liz when learning to talk, and continues to now even after she told me when she was 4 that she could say Liz but choose not to. Ok. Now her parents and brother call me that regularly. Even some of her friends do too.

Of course, I am leaving out all of the swear words that I've been called. At least those don't generally stay the same...!


Laurie and Ned said...

I, like you, will omit the swear words used to describe me, mostly in my Air Force career.

Laurie Kate McDonald Shaw Boy - how the heck did I come up with that one? Yes, I did it to myself. That is what I would answer when my grandfather would ask me my name. Must have been older brother envy (Gregory Shawn)when I was very little.

Mac - in my college sorortity days when my last name was McDonald and I drove a yellow volkswagen bug called the "Mac Mobile."

Carol - now that my last name is Carroll, and my company uses a last name_first name email address. Funny how other folks don't get their names screwed up.

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