What’s in a name? Anyone who knows me, knows that I believe names are ultra important. In fact, I developed an entire theory based on the importance of names. Not only does a name define you, it sets the parameters on what others think about you. I have named several children, other than my own, and if I’ve done nothing else good in my life than that, at least two children will be thanking me later on in life. Boiled down: your name has to look good on a diploma, just like a steak has to look good on fine china. This, of course, supposes that the child will be seeking a diploma, but as a rule of thumb it works.

It’s all about credibility. Years ago, I believe that Kimba Wood’s nomination for a judicial appointment tanked in part due to her name’s lack of, shall we say, substance. Judge Kimba? Sounds fluffy, not like someone you want ruling on the vagaries of federal copyright law. Senator Britney? I think not.

I love my name, even though I gave up on it at about kindergarten. I have two first names, connected by a hyphen (the subject of a future blog). I had no middle name. My first two names never fit into those little boxes on standardized forms. The box for the middle initial was always empty. It took little Amy, the neighbor on the right of me, about 3 seconds to write her name and me about half a minute. My grandfather called me by my initials, the Mexicans a Spanish version of my second name, and the Brazilians just left it at the first one (they do not understand double names, even if you repeat yourself ad nauseum).

Brazilian*: ” So, you do you want to be called both names?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

Brazilian: “Okay, Mary.”

Repeat this conversation every day for the last 5.5 years. Resignation sets in.

My favorite name variations have come recently, one by the snack bar lady at the gym: Mary Americana. Cute and effective. I was the only Americana in the gym so they knew how to track me down if I owed $$$ for water. The second was bestowed by Vagner, my blessed hair dresser, who wrote it on a bag of my nail polish I’d left in his salon. Accompanying it was a drawing of a cat (that’s a clue).

So, no, I am not changing anyone’s names, beyond those of my children on this blog. Enough of the kerfuffle. They are hereby renamed Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3. Mr. Understanding and I had a hard time agreeing on names. Many people might think their names old fashioned, perhaps even boring; this applies to the blog now as well. They are traditional names that defy typification and overuse. Given our common surname, this has caused no small amount of grief with insurance and rental car companies but did result in an upgrade at the Copacabana Palace for which I am eternally grateful.

Regarding the inside jokes relating to the names used on the blog. It’s for your own good. Only Raftbuddy and I know the full significance of her name. This will protect her when either she or her husband run for the US Senate. Southern Belle can write her posts in confidence, knowing that few others know just how hard she laughed at Borat. Leezer has her own blog, and if you really want to know who she is, you can look her up (I need to update the format of my blog to accomodate a blogroll). When KLab and Princess Ai Lin drink too many mojitos this coming Saturday, no one will be the wiser, even if I blog about it.

My inner Radish is flexible, but only to a point, SmartalecAngela.

*apologies to M & F, who always use both.



Filed under Family, Life, People

11 responses to “Mary-Americana

  1. Klab

    I adore this post. And look forward to mojitos. And thank you infinitely for your naming wizardry. As will “Goody” (as in 2-shoes) when she’s wiser.

  2. Raftbuddy

    Good thing I am not planning on running for anything! How long are you summering north of me? I swear my summer has turned out busier than my school year, but if it is remotely possible I would love to visit with you- even if it is a lame phone visit like last year!! xoxo

  3. SmartAlecAngela

    Hey the pen names that I liked the most were your kid’s names. Sunshine, Buddy and Angel are infinitely better than Thing 1,2, and 3.

  4. Klab: Goody’s name is diploma-worthy, isn’t it?

    Raftbuddy: we will have to ink in a lame phone call. Your summers are always busier than your school year – no arm chair parenting going on at your house! Am leaving my beloved island August 2. This summer has been a blur.

    SmartAlecAngela: I might love your name the best, even though it is hellish on the fingers to type. Maybe I will refer to the offspring like this to get everyone ramped up: Thing3/Sunshine? What do you think? The names were really tongue in cheek and oh, so American.

  5. Raftbuddy

    Well, that is one way to force me to visit China!! Lame call it is. My Thing 1 has 4 drama performances this weekend, and my Thing 3 has a soccer tournament next weekend. I agree with SmartAlecAngela about the “”Things” thing””, the effort seems a bit weak for an Expat name expert. Is Mr. Understanding getting a name makeover as well? Will he be “Thing King?”

  6. Mr. Understanding

    Thing King. I like it! Oh, and yes, I do read the blog from time to time so watch out Expat Princess.

  7. Raftbuddy: Royalty is spreading! Mr. Understanding’s head might swell so much with his new nickname that his crown won’t fit. I guess I am just lame all around at the moment. However, we are gearing up for our Chinese names and let me tell you, they are doozies!

  8. maria

    You know I do have 2 names?!You almost never called me different from Maria….Those Americans….can not understand how important names are to me.
    For me Maria is short ,simple and beautiful…just the way I am;d´ont you agree , my friend?

  9. Maria de Lourdes,

    You can’t even get your name straight for an airplane ticket, or a blog handle for that matter, that’s how important your name is to you! Your husband calls you Lu and you let the rest of us expats just call you Maria because you did not insist on the de Lourdes bit. I guess”de” can be considered a hyphen though. You are right: Maria is a short, simple and beautiful name. Which is why I almost named Thing 3 that out of deference to an Italian great-grandmother and her Mexican heritage. Please comment on the TAM accident. We need a little Brazil news and commentary.

  10. maria

    can not say about TAM accident;it seens that a lot of bad things happened at same time coming to this tragedy.Rain;short pista at the airport,airplane´s computer has a lot of information that could not happen so ,maybe there was a problem in software too;
    we need more time to know whar really hapened….I am so sad for this families….

  11. Querida Maria:

    Please keep us posted. Beijos e tudo de bom para voce.

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