Thursday, February 25, 2010

Name Game

Ever think about changing your name?

There was a brief period of time when I considered it. I was a young co-ed and wanted a simple, no-nonsense, all-American sounding name. My real name seemed way too complicated.

I don't use my first name, just the initial. I am called by my middle name and always have been. That's no big deal in some parts of the country, like where my mother was born and raised. But in the Upper Midwest where I grew up, it was downright baffling. Yes, the good folks of my home state, who are known to wear large wedges of cheese on their heads at sporting events, thought not being called by one's first name was very curious indeed.

Sometimes you get tired of explaining.

Add to that the fact that my name means "small" in French. If you know me in real life, you're laughing out loud right now. Trust me, the irony is not lost on all six feet two inches of me.

So there I was in '79 or '80, sitting in a smoky joint known as The Brass Rail, chatting with the bartender, my one-time college roommate, who just happened to have the kind of name I coveted. I called her Barb.

"I think I want to change my name."

"Yeah? What would you change it to?"

"Jane Morgan." (Why not change my real last name too? It was of German origin and rhymed with "I ski, you ski...")

I don't remember exactly what Barb said in response, but it wasn't "Huh?" or "WTF?" (which hadn't been invented yet). Nor was it, "I think I've served you one too many Tanqueray and tonics." It was probably something neutral--she was, after all, a fellow psych major. Maybe along the lines of, "That's interesting. Tell me more." Knowing me, I blathered on.

Thankfully, it was only a whim. I soon sobered up and have long since *cough* grown into my name. I am at peace with it. It also helped to marry someone with an easy, four-letter surname.

I still like the name Jane, though. To me, it connotes a straightforward nature, singularity of purpose, the beauty of simplicity.

Kind of like my new sewing machine--a solidly built, straight stitch only, non-electronic machine. Fast but not furious. Few bells or whistles. Streamlined.

So that is what I am christening my Juki TL-98Q.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jane.


GaAm said...

I went through a period of time, too, where I wanted to change my name. I think for me it was...well...all through elementary school. It was, at that time, an unusual name, and it rhymed with too many things, so I was teased and called all sorts of things.

I'm over it now. The name is still somewhat unusual, but not completely unheard of. And most people I know are too mature to make up rhymes about me. And the rest -- well -- I don't care about what they think.

Michelle said...

Actually, I have considered changing my name. Not because I don't like mine, but because I wondered what it would feel like to be called something else. HA! Guess it was a mental exercise.

Cool about Juki "Jane". :-)

Elizabeth said...

I love it! As you know, my machine came with a name, and I kind of like it. I'm not good at naming things, so I was glad that it came already names. You, on the other hand, are a master. Jane is a perfect name for your machine.

xo -E