My niece’s husband has a great sense of humor. He fits in well with our family because we all enjoy taunting each other to see who can get the most laughs at someone else’s expense. No one is safe and nothing is sacred in this wholesome Lord-of-the-Flies-meets-a-Don-Rickles-Celebrity-Roast family tradition.
Recently, it was my turn to suffer through the taunts when aforementioned nephew-by-marriage [we’ll call him Sean] had control of the conch. He summoned the other family members via a group e-mail and it was game on. He sent a picture of Santa consulting a long list of good children he would reward. All my sibling’s names were on it. But not mine. He found it quite amusing.
Little did he know the deep, painful history this would conjure.
A history I will disclose to you now in all its dysfunctional glory…
It all started in The Time Before Cable Television,The 1960s, In other words, four channels in glorious black and white one of which was host to my most cherished memory: Romper Room. It’s where I learned to be a good Do-Bee [despite forgetting what that meant during my adolescence and subsequent failed marriages where I engaged in lots of Don’t Bees but that’s for another time]. It’s where my fascinating with entertainment started. I was mesmerized from the start. I wanted to be one of those kids. What star were they born under that bestowed on them such a coveted gig?
Regardless of my misguided envy, I held out hope. Hope that one day, Miss Nancy would speak my name at the end show when she looked through her magic mirror. If I couldn’t be one of those privileged kids, at least I might hear my name uttered by the golden voice of my godess-like idol. Each day I would wait patiently for the end of the show, teetering on my Romper Stompers for good luck.
But she never spoke my name.
Each day, I would collapse in a heap of steaming hot despair, gnash my baby teeth, wail to the highest heavens [there’s medication for fits of this nature today, but alas, I was behind the curve in those early years]. It brought my parents great distress. My older sisters, on the other hand, would point and laugh and claim I needed a good spanking.
And now, thanks to the man who shall henceforth be called “Sean of the Doom” I learn that my name didn’t even make it onto Santa’s top-twenty list fifty m-effing years later?! Even after all the years of repentance, all the years of self-improvement, all the years of I’m-sorry-I-was-just-too-young-to-knows…I still can’t make the grade.
Come to find out, my name didn’t even make it into the Top 100 Most Popular Female Names of the 1960s. Yes…I looked it up.
The number one name was Lisa.
I knew a couple named Lisa during my childhood. I have no good memories of either of them. One tortured me during lunch in the third grade, the other had an aversion to bathing and smelled like urine.
I don’t care. I’m going to change my name anyway.
So, please. Next time you see me? Call me Lisa.