I was out and about in the blogosphere recently visiting old friends and exploring new territories. I zipped around reading, admiring photos and leaving comments. I came to my sixteenth stop of the day, preparing to leave an intellectual comment so the host would know I really had taken the time to read their post when I stopped dead in mid-typing. Quite a few people had already left comments and as I read through I noticed that another person named 'Deb' had already left a comment. And then another ... and believe it or not, a third 'Deb' had commented. And this is only one more reason why I hate my name. Once again I felt unoriginal and just another girl born in the 1950's who gets lost in the masses and who happens to think she has the most boring name EVER.
I decided to do a little research on the name ' Debbie'. There are currently 240,816 people in the U.S. with the first name Debbie. 99 % are females. It is a form of the name 'Deborah' or in my case 'Debra'. It means bee but I always tell people it means queen bee which helps in my quest to have a special name. I found a survey page which says the name is only mispronounced 11% of the time. No comment. Survey says people only misspell the name 9% of the time ~ this would include my darling husband of thirty years who wrote my name on a score sheet for a card game we were playing. I looked at what he had written - twelve times. I went to get my glasses. I cleaned my glasses. He had written 'Debby'. I thought he was having a medical emergency since HOW IN THE WORLD COULD HE NOT KNOW HOW TO SPELL MY NAME AFTER THIRTY YEARS OF MARRIAGE?! A fight ensued but long story short ~ the explanation was that he never writes 'Debbie' ~ he always writes 'Deb' - which is true but still. I bet if my name was Angelina or Halle or Goldie he would be able to write my name correctly. But I am over all that and ready to move on. Honey, you spell that D-e-b-b-i-e and I have a long memory.
Now at this point I need to tell you what my maiden name was so that you have a clear understanding of my name issue. My maiden name was Smith. Yep, Debbie Smith. Zzzzzzzz !!
Now I have a few Debbie Smith stories and if I had a dime for every time I heard 'That can't be your real name," I would be a rich girl. But I will share the story with you which made me truly dislike my name.
I was a freshman in college and lived in an all girl dorm. This was back in the prehistoric days when if a girl had a male visitor he had to stop at the desk in the lobby and the girl would be called down to meet her male visitor. She could walk him back to her room but the door to the room had to remain open.
It was a Saturday night and I was just hanging out in my room. The buzzer goes off and I hear, "Debbie Smith, please come to the lobby. You have a male guest." I looked at my roommate and asked her if I had heard correctly. I, Debbie Smith, had a male visitor? I never had male visitors. "Yes," she screamed. And soon the hallway was full of my friends all curious to see who was here to visit Debbie Smith. Well, I can assure you no one was more curious than I. I ran my fingers through my hair, thought about putting on a bra but no real need plus I had recently burnt them all. My friends shoved me to the metal door at the end of the hall which separated me from my male guest. There was this little window in the door so we could peek out to see who was standing at the lobby desk. Twelve of us were on tippy toe trying to check out mystery man. At that point we tumbled into the door and the whole pile landed, ungracefully, in the lobby. Nice. By the time I gained my composure my friends had vanished, leaving me standing there with the mystery male guest and the front desk clerk.
"Hi," I said meekly, wondering who the heck this guy was and vowed right then and there to stop drinking so much at fraternity parties.
"Hi. Who are you?" he asked.
"I am Debbie Smith."
"No, you aren't." He started to look for the closest exit.
"Yes, I am. " Now I am positive that I am having an out of body experience ~ and I am not sure why.
" I met a Debbie Smith last night at a frat party and she told me she lived in Monadnock Hall."
"Well. I am Debbie Smith. I was at a frat party last night and I do live here in Monadnock Hall." What the heck. Is this some one's idea of a joke? Not funny.
" You don't look like the Debbie Smith I met last night." Well, you don't look like the male mystery guest I have been fantasizing about for the whole semester either! What exactly are you saying buster? So you had a few too many the previous night and I looked better when you were under the influence? Slime ball. I could feel my neck veins starting to pulse and I was biting the inside of my cheek - bad sign.
I couldn't resist. "What did the Debbie Smith look like that you met last night?" Ah, Debbie, Debbie, Debbie - will you never learn?
"She had brown long hair. " I just pointed at my brown long hair. I decided to not make this easy for this male mystery slime guest.
"Um, she wore blue jeans." Hey, Einstein, that's all any of us wore in 1975. No help from me. I decided to let him squiggle a bit more since he could barely contain his disappointment that I was Debbie Smith.
" I guess, well, she wasn't as skinny as you." Ah-ha. His fantasy Debbie Smith had meat on her bones in all the right places and didn't go by the nickname 'Skinny Minny'.
At this point the front desk clerk pipes in. "You must be talking about the other Debbie Smith who lives on the third floor."
"What?" We both turned and stared at her.
"Yeah, there is a new transfer student who just moved in on the third floor. I bet that is who he is looking for."
I could see the relief on his face. I hoped he could see anything but the hurt that was threatening to squirt out of the corners of my eyes.
"Well, there you go. Mystery solved. Hope you have a good time with the real Debbie Smith," and I turned to walk back to my room, not wanting to hear anymore or to see the real Debbie Smith.
So...I once asked my mom why she had to pick such an ordinary name for her daughter. She defended her choice but then went on to tell me that it had been a toss-up between Debbie and Zilla. Right. I can totally understand why that must have been a hard call since those names have so much in common ~ NOT!
I have now been watching my children go through the name game as they prepare for the arrival of their children. No one has asked me for my advice but if they ever asked me 'What's in a name?' I would say 'Everything.' And now I am going to practice writing the new name I might consider for myself ~ Debzilla. It has a certain flair to it, don't you think?