When they came home from Halloween shopping on Olvera Street, the Mexican chachkas market in Downtown LA, Terry and Mia presented me with this keychain.
"Look!" my dad exclaimed. "They had your name! It's what you've always wanted."
"No! They didn't!"
"You're right. They didn't. We had this custom-made. But isn't it good?"
"This must be what it feels like to be named Michael!"
In 9th grade I was required to buy a ruler for a class, so I bought the one that was made for girls named Natasha.
"But your name is nowhere near Natasha!" Charlie yelled at me [eight years ago].
"Natasha has the same number of A's!"
Lately I really dislike when people with popular, American names try to jazz themselves up by creating a nickname that sounds like a real, rare name or by adding their middle name as an extra three syllables to their first name. Their entire lives they could always get pencils and magnets and sometimes coffee mugs with their names on them from any city or resort in the country, either bought personally or as a gift from a friendly traveler. On the first day of school, every year, their teachers didn't embarrassingly struggle to pronounce their name, nor did every substitute teacher who ever filled in, regardless of whether or not the sub already knew them! And at the end of the E.T. ride at Universal Studios [spoiler alert] E.T. could actually say their name while waving at them.
Sometimes their parents would try to jazz it up for them from the onset.
"My name is Nicole but with two Ls."
E.T. still knew how to pronounce it.
The Emilys and the Daniels and the Melissas of the world have had easy-ass childhoods, and unfortunately for them, it's chic in adulthood to have irregular first and last names. And instead of trying to switch teams 18 years into the game, they ought admit defeat and do the right thing when they become parents. Until then, the Lancelots and the Nickodemuses and the Alainas will have everything under control.