You can’t pick your last name. It’s just one of those things. I mean, I guess later in life you could go and change your name to Rainbow Sparkles if you really wanted to devote your time and resources to doing so, but for at least a portion of your life, you’re stuck with the name you inherited at birth.
Admittedly, some parents are kinder than others. I went to summer camp with a girl named Kandy Kane one year. (True story.) My own father apparently told the doctor that my first name was going to be “Ima” or “Omy” because it went so well with our last name. Thankfully, he didn’t actually go through with it.
However, boot camp is an awful place to have a last name like my maiden name. I’m not going to tell you what it is. Just know that it is synonymous with “sweetheart” or “adorable.” It’s an amazingly cute last name! And in a place like boot camp, where endearments are taboo, it is entirely the last name on the planet that you want to have. It gets you yelled at…a lot. Here’s how it usually went down.
SCENE ONE: Recruit Honeybunch is in Trouble
(It is early morning at Recruit Training Camp. The sky is beautiful, making one almost forget that they have arrived at Destination Horror. A new division is in formation on the grinder [a.k.a. the parking lot outside of the galley a.k.a. cafeteria]. The green recruits are being inspected by their Recruit Division Commanders [a.k.a. RDCs] prior to breakfast.)
Halt, Recruit! Why did you let that [insert rank here] get fresh with you? Where is your military bearing, Shipmate?
(In a very carrying voice that is perfectly conditioned for teachable moments such as these.)
[Insert rank here], it’s my last name, [insert rank here]!
(Quaking in my little boondockers, a.k.a. combat boots.)
Do not lie to Lord Voldemort, Muggle!
[Whoops! Wrong story.]
What do you mean it’s your last name, Recruit? Nobody has a last name like that! Certainly nobody would be stupid enough to come to boot camp with that last name! Show me your name tape and identification! If you have been lying to me, you will be doing pushups until you look like a linebacker for the [insert NFL team here]! I’ll be all over you like white on rice!
(Still in teachable voice, but now two inches from Recruit Honeybunch’s face. She should be able to smell the coffee on [insert gender here] breath.)
Aye, [insert rank here].
(Shows name tape on utilities and pulls out ID from left breast pocket. Hands to RDC.)
(Brief moment of silence.)
As you were, Recruit.
(In a stage whisper. Recruit Honeybunch scampers off after the rest of her division, who by now are three minutes into their allotted ten for breakfast.)
(Director wipes a tiny tear from her eye. Oh, wait…we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming.)
Ah…memories. Now that I’m married, my last name has changed. While it wouldn’t get me yelled at anymore, my new name is such that hardly anybody pronounces it correctly on the first (fifth…sixth…maybe twentieth) try. Oh, well.
C’est la vie…c’est l’amour…c’est les pommes de terre.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist!