If changing names was easy, I’d have ditched the whole “Sarah” thing by elementary school and gone with “Elizabeth,” the name I wish my parents had chosen instead.
Unlike my name, which had no fun abbreviations and was only shortened to “Sar” when my mom was mad, Elizabeth could be modified into other, more interesting variations like Liz, Lizzy and Beth (“I hear ya callin,’ but I can’t come home right now,” my favorite Kiss song).
Wesley, my last name, might have been cool if kids had nicknamed me “Wes,” like my brother.
Instead, some junior rocket scientist came up with “Wesson-Oil,” a considerably less flattering epithet, but one that stuck right up until I graduated.
By high school, my wish-name was “Tatiana,” or “Tat” for short.
I chose it after reading a Harlequin Romance where the heroine learns her billionaire boss, Julian Thorn, has been cold and aloof because he fell in love with her the moment she showed up on his doorstep, penniless and suffering from amnesia.
Afraid of love, Julian confesses to Tatiana in the last paragraph of the last page, that it made him angry to love her, he didn’t want to love her, but, dammit, he loves her so much it hurts.
I seriously contemplated going legal with the name until I shared it with a classmate, who snickered and pointed out that just adding a “w” to “Tat” gave my catchy new nickname an entirely different spin, effectively putting an end to that phase.
When it comes to changing monikers, a friend of mine insists that instead of using her first name I should call her “I’m Gonna …” after all the things she plans to accomplish, but never manages to.
There are a lot of things I’m gonna do, too.
Each morning, I’m gonna pour myself into some Lycra and run a half marathon before my second cup coffee.
Then I’m gonna spend the rest of the day either fasting or at the very least, avoiding all carbs, refined sugar and the McDonalds drive-thru.
After I finish the laundry, I’m gonna do the Marshalls return that’s been sitting in the back of my car, 30 days past the purchase date. Sorry, store credit only.
I’m also gonna read all the self-help books I’ve had rush-shipped on Amazon Prime, then I’m gonna clean the bathroom — a hair garden and mold hotel all in one.
While I’m at it, I’m gonna clean out my drawers in an effort to finally get rid of all the clothes that don’t fit, leaving a handful of stretched-out Jockey underpants and a pair of flannel pajama bottoms when I’m done.
When I have a few extra hours to spend on hold, I’m gonna call my cell phone provider to speak to someone about the mysterious international charge billed to my account, before being transferred to someone else, who will transfer me to someone else who just might be able to help credit the $3.18 I have coming.
And, one day, I’m gonna use the photo scanner I bought to scan the 7,000 assorted pictures shoved into a Rubbermaid up in the attic, which I’m gonna organize instead of parking it on the couch to watch another episode of “House Hunters International.”
If nothing else, “I’m Gonna …” is better than the alternative, “I Probably Shouldn’t, But …”
This alias precedes most, if not all bad decisions like “I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to open another bottle of wine anyway,” or “I probably shouldn’t, but it’s by the side of the road and free!”
“I Probably Shouldn’t, But…” also applies to anytime I take a credit card out of my wallet or leave it in arm’s reach of the computer.
This can be particularly dangerous if I’m buying shoes or looking up airfares to Europe, since I have no business doing either.
And definitely not after “I probably shouldn’t, but I’m going to open another bottle of wine anyway.”
It’s safe to assume no one will ever suggest that I change my name to “I Don’t Really Need It,” except maybe the people who give me lotion samples at the mall and my husband.
Otherwise, I doubt I’ve ever even said those words, let alone used them while looking over a dessert menu.
All things considered I think I’ll stick with “Sarah.” Unless, of course, Mrs. Julian Thorn is still available.