What’s in a Name?

First of all, as you read this, please don’t worry about me, you don’t need to call a therapist. I’M OKAY.


It’s just that I’m grappling with envy.

No, not that kind of envy. Name envy.

In a big way, too.

You see, my parents, god love ‘em, decided to saddle me with perhaps the most yawn-producing name in the world. Becky Green. Not even Rebecca. Just plain old Becky.

To top it off, they decided to give me a darling middle name: Sue. I’m guessing they never thought I’d grow up, or perhaps they didn’t ever want me to grow up. Sorry mom and dad, I’m diss’ing you and you’re not even alive anymore to defend yourselves. I’m sure I’ll be going to hell in a hand-basket for that one.

But here I am, a grown woman with the name Becky Sue. Isn’t that sweet? It makes my fillings hurt just typing it.

The topper, though, is that nobody ever remembers my adorable name.

I’m either Betty or Betsy, Debbie or Vicky. Or my favorite, Bicky (when somebody can’t remember if I’m Becky or Vicky).

This “name thing” has been an ongoing joke for years with people closest to me. And I’ll tell you, there’s cheap entertainment in making fun songs out of my various names:

Try this for example…dance around the room and belt out, “Betty Sue’s got a new pair of shoes….” Well, you might have to throw back a few cocktails in order for that to tickle your funny bone like it did so many times with my former college roommate, Janet, and me.

Then do your best Buddy Holly impersonation and tell that “PPPPPeggy Sue” to move over, because it’s really BBBBBicky Sue who has it going on!

My all-time favorite name though, came to me from across the Atlantic. A German photo editor I worked with several years ago bestowed it upon me. As her fax came dribbling out of the fax machine, I barely got past the first line before I began howling. It simply read, “Dear Betty Grimm.” It was too funny to bother correcting her, so to this day, I’m still known as Betty Grimm to a few of my favorite people.

Thankfully, there’s always room for a new twist. Recently, I joined a women’s writing organization called She Writes, and somehow my blog information got listed under Bobby Green Aaronson. I suppose I should try to have that corrected, but all I can do is chuckle, knowing how classic it is. Maybe I should at least have them add the Sue, so it would be Bobby Sue Green Aaronson.

And the Green Aaronson? I grappled with that too. Forever, I used my maiden name professionally so Jeffrey and I wouldn’t seem like a “ma and pa operation.” Most clients didn’t even know we were a couple. But then sweet Olivia came along and I wanted us all to have the same last name. So then I dropped the Green. But when I began writing, I realized most people would still know me by Green. So then I got neurotic and added the Green back in with Aaronson. Are you confused yet?

Good, then it’s obviously time to move on.

I think I need to start taking lessons from several creative types I know. One woman I know goes by the name Trixi. She’s a fit, artistic, firecracker mom of four. When asked about her name, she explained that it wasn’t her given name. “For many years my professional work required me to go to conventions where we wore name tags for networking. It was so boring I decided to spice it up. One time I wrote the name Trixi on my badge. The name stuck, and I’ve been Trixi ever since.”

The last time I did something like that was when I told the barista at Starbuck’s my name was Lulu.

Then there’s my writing mentor, Cork Millner. Who doesn’t love and remember a name like Cork? Especially when he’s a writer and a wine aficionado.

My husband, Jeffrey, is also good with names. Whenever he signs up for a store saver card or anything that requires personal information, he creates a new persona. In case you are wondering, not only do I live with Jeffrey, but also the elusive Jack French.

I’ve often thought about giving myself a memorable pen name, but then nobody would know that it was me blathering on about important things like names.

So for now, I guess I’ll continue to be Betty, Betsy, Debbie, Bicky Vicky Sue…even if it’s tempting to be Sophia LaStrange or Madeleine Duvall.

That is unless you have a pen name I can’t resist!

Send me your best!