My mom named us all wrong. I know it’s not her fault. She admired and loved the family members we were all named for. She didn’t know how the three of us would turn out. But if she had the chance to do it all over again, I have a few suggestions.
First let’s start with Molly, a nice name. And don’t get me wrong, she is a very nice girl, only her name should portray so much more than “nice.” You see, when Molly means business, she means business. It was obvious her name was all wrong for her at an early age. When she was about six, she was at my grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. She and my cousin William were sitting at “the children’s table” in the room next to the dining room where all the adults were sitting. All of a sudden my mom heard screaming and racket and when she went in to check on them, Molly had my cousin William pinned down and was beating him up for drinking her Coke. Then she fought him again because he wouldn’t tell her he was sorry. Never mind he couldn’t even talk yet. I’m telling you, you do not want to mess with her.
Molly needs a more powerful name like Janet, Erin, or … Oprah. She once made Joey, the boy next-door, start crying when he won in hide-n-seek because she was sure he cheated by opening his eyes and that was simply an injustice for all of the other kids who were playing. It’s not that she’s mean or evil. In fact, she is kind and loves helping others. She just knows what she wants, has very high expectations of everyone and every thing and … okay, maybe she’s a little bossy at times. Now she has this huge, powerful job telling tons of people what to do and how to do it and they call her “Molly?” It just doesn’t seem right.
Emily, my middle sister, as most middle siblings it seems, is the peacekeeper. She has prevented many an argument between Molly and me. She was always helping Molly with something or playing whatever game I had made up for the afternoon with me. She even sometimes tried to take blame for things I had done, like slamming doors upstairs in anger or the time I spray-painted our dog green for St. Patrick’s Day, but my parents always knew that it was never Emily. She probably gets it from my parents. Whenever Molly and I would argue, our punishment was to hug and pay each other a compliment. Pure torture if you ask me. Emily would have done that for fun.
Her name should have been something angelic like Joy, Mary, or even Angelica. She looks the part too. She has very light blonde hair that, when she was younger, made huge ringlets around her face. She has fair, flawless skin, big light blue eyes, and a little crooked smile that could melt anyone’s heart. She made valentines for our postman, wrote every cafeteria worker a thank you note after her seventh grade year, and would clean my room whenever I asked.
Finally there is me, Rebecca Barger. Such a common, boring name, yet I feel I am so much more. Sometimes I wonder if it’s my name that is limiting me. Rebecca Barger will never be on the silver screen, concert posters, or the cover of a best-seller. I need a name like Ruby, Madonna, Kelly, or John Grisham. Even Pamela Parker or Eva Everett. Ida Claire, Justa Dora Bill, Star, or something like that. I don’t want to sound like an exotic dancer or anything, but it needs to be catchy because, once I get myself out there, people need to remember me.
I blame my lack of fame completely on my mom and dad. Not only is my name all wrong for Hollywood, but they could have paid for singing lessons, painting, or acting classes. Surely they recognized my talent. I mean, I’m not the kind of girl who limits her singing to just the shower or anything. And the driveway was always covered in my paintings. Once I was yelled at because I had painted my arms and legs purple. Naturally, an elegant lady needs her fine accessories. I just wanted gloves and boots. See how they limited me?
If our names were Erin, Joy, and Ruby, upon meeting us everyone would automatically guess our personalities. Much more accurately than Molly, Emily, and Rebecca. I guess you could read us by Molly’s black turtleneck and slacks, Emily’s khakis and pastel sweater, and my hot reds, gold jewelry, and tight jeans but I feel confident that a change in name would take me oh so far.
So here is my suggestion. Parents should wait until the fourth birthday to name their child. For some it may be earlier. I personally did not find my inner rock star until closer to seven, but you get the picture. We could have fabulous parties comparable to confirmation, graduation, or a Bar Mitzvah, to celebrate the correct naming of the child and each party would be appropriate to the personality. “Molly Janet Winfrey” could have sleek, modern lines and everyone would HAVE to follow the rules. “Emily Joy Betoall” could have party favors or we could all volunteer at the charity of her choice. And me, “Ruby Mic Jagger,” let me tell you, there would be no confusion after my party. It would be clear that I do things in style. Even my grandmother would be singing karaoke with everyone. There would be fireworks, dancing, and elephants you could ride.
Alright maybe I exaggerated a little. No one needs to change their last names and maybe Granny won’t sing karaoke on stage, but here is the bottom line. I appreciate my sister’s names, and even my name because they are all some great-grandparent’s name or maiden name or whatever, but the fact of the matter is the Rebecca I was named for was no rock star, no famous writer, no Picasso. She was known for her pecan pie and marrying the Mayor of Tunica, Mississippi. All of that can be assumed by her boring name.
So to all the expecting moms and dads out there, do your kids a favor. Rip up and trash that list of names you had going. Call them honey, sugar, or number one and number two for all I care, until you can be positive that their names suit them. Because after all, everything is in a name.