Monday, September 19, 2005

My Name Is Lisa

An earlier comment chided me for not revealing my name on this here blog. (I'm too lazy to check; I'll take your word for it.) Oh, and Bill, too. Henceforth... My name is Lisa and this is the story of how I got that way.

My parents, who were very young and naive when I was born, were absolutely sure I was going to be a boy. They were completely prepared for a boy. I had a navy blue and white nursery (which my mother now swears was unisex), a toy box with a tiger & racing stripes on it, a ride-on metal car, and a wardrobe full of jeans and Pontiac Motor t-shirts. Everthing was ready and waiting for 'Jon' to be born and come tear it up in the way only a little boy can. Boy! Were they surprised when Jon was born a girl.

In those days women stayed in the hospital 4-5 days after giving birth and from what I hear, my parents spent that time alternating between bewildered disbelief and trying to brain-storm a "girl's name." There was even a joke I heard many times as a kid that the hospital threatened to not let me leave if Mom & Dad didn't get their act together and pick a name for me. My guess is my parents finally gave up and went down to the nursery to see what all the other parents of new baby girls were naming theirs. Lisa was the most popular girl's name by far, so they just went with that. And to really seal the deal, my parents chose Anne for my middle name. It's a family name, which is nice, but not exactly creative or original. But Oh! how I cherished that "E" at the end of my middle name, my only teensy little nubbin of uniquness. (ever notice my kids both have E names? Note to self for future post...) I remember in elementary school, more than once, explaining to a garden-variety Lisa Ann that my name was different, because mine had an E.

Some might say having a very common name is a bad thing, but it has some benefits too. Therefore...

Top Ten Reasons It's Good To Be Lisa

1. Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam. Whatever, it's got my name in it twice, so I suppose that's something, right?

2. Prince had a Lisa in his band, The Revolution. She's heard in the opening dialog of the filthy song Darling Nikki. For about a year when I'd ask a question of certain people, I'd hear "Yes, Lisa" ala that song.

3. Lisa Lips, an obscure late-eighties song another Lisa told me about. She was a groupie with actual carnal knowledge of Peter Buck, so who was I to argue?

4. Lisa Douglas on Green Acres. Peignoir sets as daytime casual wear! On a farm!

5. Lisa Lubner on SNL, the one with Todd? and noogies? And Lisa Simpson!

6. My Name's Not Lisa, the song, that my 4th grade reading teacher would sing out loud, in the hallway, every time he saw me for three solid years until I graduated from elementary school. For some reason he only sang it for me, not the other 83 girls named Lisa.

7. The Lisa computer, a funky old computer Steve Jobs created for Apple and named after his daughter. This helped me snag a charming geek who not only told me that story but then also saw me as extra attractive because of it. I only wish I could make something like this up...

8. Lisa soaps from cheap hotels. I have a whole collection; people bring them to me and say Have you seen this?

9. Monogrammed stuff in catalogs is often done up with my name on the display model. No guessing how my monogrammed purse/pillowcase/popcorn bowl will look!

10. FOUR Lisas in my 6th grade class, and one slightly overworked, non-detail-oriented teacher set the stage for me to learn early about the loophole usually reserved for twins. "Me? Don't think so, might have been the other one..."


Take a wild guess... said...

You think "Lisa" is plain? Try Jane. Without a Y or anything else cute in there. Try it when SNL inspires my high school to yell "Jane, you ignorant slut" down the hallways. Try it when "Janie got a gun" and "Jane, you're driving me insane" are popular and even your algebra teacher giggles when she tosses out Plain Jane Equations. And you wondered why your buddy is warped?!

Shelby's Mum said...

Oh, now... what about that Barenaked Ladies song, Jane? And Maroon 5's Songs About Jane? And Jane of Dick & Jane fame? She seems pretty nice... Okay, I'm grasping at straws, aren't I? YOU WIN!

Joan said...

If you think JANE is bad, well, what about Joan? Joan is so bad that we've decided (collectively apparently) to quietly do away with the name. Have you met anyone younger than 50 named Joan? No, you haven't - that is because about a half a century ago, Joan was retired. People can look at your name and without ever having met you, know your age. Yep, Joan beats it all.

Ken said...

Joan you are so right. And so wrong -- I know you and you're 36! The visually interesting web site shows that Joan ranked #7 in popularity in the 1930's and didn't even score in the top 1000 in the 1990. I had never realized that.

Anonymous said...

Always nice to have the numbers and research backing me up. Nice teamwork, Ken. By the way, where does your name rank? After Barbie became so popular, did Ken take a nose-dive?

Susan, of course said...

I really must say that Susan is the worst name. according to the above mentioned web site it ranked 4th and 3rd in the 50's and 60's, 565th in 2004! Has anyone met a child lately named Susan.
Also, 5 Susan's in my 7th grade music class-we all had to pick different nicknames. Ugh, to Susan!

Shelby's Mum said...

Sue's here? Yay! But sorry on the name, no dice. Because you have derivatives. Sue, Susie, Suzy, Suzi dotted with a heart, Suze, etc. Just try that with Lisa.