Note to Mom and Dad: skip this entry. Seriously, you’ve gone this long without what I’m about to share, there’s no need to internalize it now.
Everyone likes to be remembered, right? It’s particularly a charge if someone who didn’t need to remember your name does, the next time they meet you. I’ve always gone out of my way to note names, partly due to my own name and the irritation I feel when people get it wrong (especially, more than once), and also due to Sister Bernadine. Sister B. worked in my high school office and knew the name of every single student and, more than likely, all their siblings. It was, at times, creepy. I always thought it was cool to have a memory like that; it’s on my list of items that cannot be bought that I would totally buy.
My parents, in their groovy 1970s wisdom, gave me a gift. When they decided to name me Marijean it was in recognition that, in all likelihood, I would be their last child. They chose to combine their names; my mom is Jean, my dad is George Anthony Mari. He’s French. Whatever. So in 1970 I became Marijean; thus saving me from being named Barbie (my sisters’ pick) or Patricia Jean (PJ) their compromise. They kept the Patricia as my middle name and, as those close to me know, you can call me MJ, but only if I’ve given you permission (it’s nonverbal and understood; you’ll know if it’s OK to call me MJ).
Growing up, I hated my name. It was different when I wanted to be same. It was weird, not cool and people got it wrong. A lot. Plus, everyone else was named Jennifer.
Then, adulthood: the internet, and epiphany; angels’ choirs, sparkling lights, microphone headsets; and magic.
Spell check changed my life.
The first time it happened, the CFO of the company I worked for, a straight-laced accountant, of course, approached me with a giggle and a twinkle in his eye. “Did you know,” he asked mischievously, “that when you spell check your name it pulls up marijuana?”
YES, I know. It IS hilarious and NO my parents are not hippies. I always finish the story by telling people to please not tell my parents, that they’re really conservative and wouldn’t find the humor at all.
The second greatest attribute of my name is this: it is original and totally googleable. If you Google me, it’s all me, baby. There’s no wondering if it’s some other Marijean Jaggers. Nope, right there is a history of what I’ve been up to, writing, where I’ve been working, etc. That’s good, right? Well, it’s handy, as long as I keep my nose clean and keep doing a good job, I guess.
So, Mom and Dad, if you were stubborn and continued to read past the warning then, thank you both; I love my name. It sure makes great cocktail party conversation and almost everyone remembers my name (and enjoys spelling it right) later.