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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Here, girl!

"Oh, I just love your name!" a woman I've met only this minute says. I wait for it. "I even named my cat Lucy!"

Yeah. I have a pet name. So much so, in fact, that right now Petfinder.com has hundreds of animals named Lucy waiting to be adopted. In addition to the expected cats and dogs, there are two ferrets named Lucy. Three horses. One pig. Sigh.

On a day-to-day level, the wrongness of my name is borne out whenever I wear a nametag, as I did twice this week. Almost universally, women exclaim how much they love my name, and almost universally, they then reference a dog or cat they own/know/once had by the same name. (The best exception yesterday morning was a little girl. She had a guinea pig by the name of Lucy. A boy guinea pig.)

It is a sad truth that the best names, in my experience, are bestowed upon those who do not even realize it. A "Babette" I knew some time ago actually rolled her eyes when she told me her name the first time. An acquaintance with the given name of "Tallulah" (swoon!) went so far as to legally change her name upon reaching adulthood. The "Genevieve" I went to school with shortened her name in introduction to "Jenny" and turned bright red when her real name was revealed at some award ceremony.

These women make me want to shake my fist at them and shout, "Why? WHY?" Instead I say, "Hi, I'm Lucy," then listen as they pine for some long gone golden retriever by the same name.

I had a good name chance once upon a time. While pregnant with me, my mother briefly considered naming me "Lula Swannanoa", after my great grandmother (who lived to 109). I have slightly forgiven my mother for not following through on this most sensible idea, but not entirely.

When pregnant myself, I kept a list of girls' names I thought fabulous: Matilda, Josette, Jemima, and such. Then my boys turned out to be, well, boys. And they were wonderful. And my life went on, which is to say that should I ever meet, say, a real-life Jemima, honesty will compel me to say the following:

"Oh, I just love your name! I even named my hamster Jemima!"

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