Let me begin with “Z’Anne.” I can”t begin to tell you the problems it has caused. I know that my father thought it would make a dandy contraction for “Elizabeth Anne” (note royal echoes) but I don’t think he foresaw possible complications.
There is the safety issue. If you see a bus bearing down on me, please don’t use yell at me using the long form, which I no longer recognize as my name. Even our doctor and dentist call me Z’Anne. As does the dog.
This brings us to some basic I.D. snags. My mother discovered to her surprise that I was twins; another mother had mentioned that day how different we two were: Elizabeth was the serious student and pianist. That crazy Z’Anne was the athlete. And if anyone checks, E.A. missed Grade 2, but apparently Z dropped out about then, because there are no more official records of her education.
Grade 9. Oh, yes, Grade 9. Didn’t the cranky Home Ec teacher insist that we first make a WW1 nurse’s apron (honestly, I saw Sybil wearing it on Downton Abbey), but we had to embroider our names on it to save her the trouble of learning to tell us apart. So could I use Z’Anne? Noooo, it had to be Elizabeth Anne. The other girls had learned to make pie and sew a blouse while I was still bleeding red embroidery thread. It’s a wonder anyone ever married me. (My father's favourite discouragement for a pout was to tell me that no-one ever would, if that particular face stuck. I know. He loved me in his way.)
Then as an adult, more than once I have disappointed someone who was expecting some exotic beauty and finding me. And noisy gatherings are a nightmare to try answering "And you are...?"
Enough about my issues. Andy Warhol had his own. He changed his last name to mask his connection to a small Eastern European area which apparently existed as a nation for one day only in 1939, but at least one person in his home town has decided to tout the connection through signage and an Andy Warhole museum as a way to attract tourists. Not everyone in the town is a fan. The NYT quotes one woman as saying: "In America, you don't have to be good. You just have to be different."
Jon and I always seem to get pre-named dogs. We thought “Jewel” too twee until it became obvious that she was. Wow, she was a real lady. But “Theodore”?? It seemed far too formal for a trousled, big-headed boy’s boy whose coat is always full of hedge clippings but now we understand now that his moniker goes well beyond simply rhyming with “Je t’adore”; “Theodore” not only echoes the morose mien of “Eyore” (when he wants to play the “I’ve-been-ignored-for-eight-minutes/bottomless-love-pit” card) but it simultaneously conjures up presidential self-importance. The Magnificent Schmoozer has gotten to the point where he is sincerely baffled if anyone we meet doesn’t stop and pat him although I will admit that he’s quite gracious when accepting admiration; another president could pick up some pointers there.
If we were ever to have the opportunity to choose a name, I’m leaning towards “Dyson” for a boy dog. But my all-time favourite name for a snuggly cat is “Merkin.”
Look it up.