I had a huge argument years ago with a girl over our first names. It was while I was attending college, circa 1976. We were in a bar, so you know how drunken conversations can take an ugly turn. Especially when there is name calling.
I was standing in a crowded pub, creatively called, The Pub, minding my own business, when I heard someone yell, “Vickie!!” Well, since that is my name, I obviously looked to see who was calling for me. I had no idea who the person was, but I was on my second beer, so maybe it was my best friend. You first need to understand that I was what they call a “cheap date.” I would start giggling after only 1/2 of a beer, so it didn’t take much for me to become the self-proclaimed life of the party. If I had more than three beers, and a microphone was nearby, I would become a comedian. I hang my head in embarrassment now. But, on that night, I became a drunken trial attorney. I am sure that is the best kind of trial lawyer. I argued my drunken case to the point where I was ready to take the LSAT the very next day.
Well, another “Vickie” went over and hugged the person who was yelling my name. How cool! Another person with my name. I wonder if we are related. Ok, now you should understand by that comment that I may have had more than 1/2 beer. I guess the next day it would have made more sense if our LAST names were the same, duh. But, when she walked by me, I decided to say something.
“I heard him yell for you. My name is Vickie, too.”
Well, hell, I never personally knew anyone with my first name. I went to a high school with over 2,000 students, and not one of them was named Vickie. Oh wait. That’s a lie. I can now think of two right off the top of my head. Well, that night, I thought I was the only one in the universe who had that first name. I was so excited. She seemed excited, too. She answered me with a sweet smile.
“Cool. How do you spell your name? I spell mine V-I-C-K-I.”
“I spell mine V-I-C-K-I-E.”
“Why? That sounds stupid.” Obviously, she had more than 1/2 beer also. I was shocked that she could say that with a smile. And, also, how can the same name “sound” stupid? What an idiot. And to think she called me “stupid.” Well, she was stupider.
I had some hard ass sorority sisters nearby. I wasn’t afraid of this stranger who shared my name. I’d have backup. Let the name calling begin, Vicki bitch.
“Stupid? Your name looks like you forgot how to spell the rest of it, because you have no brain, and you just quit writing it. V-I-C-K-I is incomplete.”
“Vicki Lawrence spells it with just an “i”. Is that the best you got? It was my turn.
“Well, then, she is stupid. She is just a sidekick to Carol Burnett. She only got the job because she looked a little like Carol Burnett. If she spelled her name with an “e”, she would have her own show.” I thought that was a brilliant retort.
Well, once drunks get in a confrontation, it’s hard to tell where the conversation ends up. We bantered back and forth for a short while, but realized that there really isn’t too much of an argument, unless you get off topic. I could have easily commented on her poor choice of earth shoes and painter pants. She could have commented on how beautiful I was. Or something like that. But, luckily, we ran out of steam and started making fun of how the “other” Vickie’s/Vicki’s would spell their name. I started.
I asked her if she was ever called, “Picky Vicky.” I hated that name, mainly because, well, I was picky. It would make sense in an argument that since “picky” is spelled with a “y”, then the name should end that way. We both thought that was an ugly adaptation of our name.
Then there was M-I-C-K-E-Y, as in the mouse. Why wasn’t our name spelled like that? V-I-C-K-e-Y. Later on, my husband used to call me “Vickey Rooney,” after the actor, Mickey Rooney. We both thought that was wrong also.
After we hugged and laughed off our three minute round, she went off to dance on the table and I went home to pass out
study, I woke up remembering why I hate for people to write anything but, V-I-C-K-I-E. The stupid nuns at the Sacred Heart of Mary Mary Quite Contrary Academy were to blame. As I mentioned in several previous posts, I attended that private school for the first three grades, and hated every minute of it.
First of all, the crazy head nun, Sister Maria, insisted on calling me Victoria, despite my objections. I got in trouble for trying to correct her.
“Little girl, your correct name is Victoria. “Vickie” is a nickname……….I don’t care what your mom says. “Vickie” is short for Victoria.”
Well, ok, then, witch. I hated Sister Maria and I knew it is wrong to wish bad things on her, but I hoped bad things would happen to her. Not death, mind you. I was only in third grade. I was thinking more like her walking and simply falling down. Yep. I wanted to see the nun fall down. Besides being a teacher, Sister Maria also drove the van/bus to pick up some of the students in the morning. One morning, a driver hit the side of our van. It’s weird, but I looked to see if Sister Maria was hurt before I noticed I had a big gash through my leotards. Dammit, she was ok. The police came and they asked for all of the names of the passengers in the van. The next morning, there was a write-up in the newspaper. My name was listed as one of the injured.
“…….and Victoria Mendenhall, 9, of Weirton……”
Whaaat? It honestly pissed me off. My name was in the newspaper, and it wasn’t really my name. Sister Maria told them my name was Victoria. I never hated her more than when I read my misprint in the newspaper. She was never going to call me anything but Victoria. So, I decided to be a smart ass from then on. I started the very next day when I got on the bus.”
“Good morning, Victoria.” she said when I got on the stupid bus/van.
“Good morning, Sister Mary.” She didn’t say anything, but gave me a very dirty look. I was dead.
I called her Sister Mary for a few weeks, when suddenly, out of the blue, a miracle occurred. A miracle, I tell ya.
“Vickie, did you have a nice weekend?” I just nodded and went on my way. Wow. I did it! I got her to start calling me Vickie instead of Victoria. I felt so powerful.
It wasn’t until a year later, far far away from the Sacred Heart of Mary Juana Academy, safely enrolled in public school, that I heard my mom talking to a neighbor lady during their daily coffee/cigarette marathon. I had settled in my eavesdropping hiding place, ready to listen to some mom gossip.
“No, don’t send him there. My kids went there for a few years until last year. I had enough of the head nun, Sister Maria. Vickie was coming home in tears almost daily because Sister Maria kept calling her Victoria. I finally called the school and told her that I should know what I named my daughter, and if Vickie comes home one more time and tells me you have called her Victoria, I will pull my children from your school and I will make some phone calls about how you have treated my daughter. Do I make myself clear?”
Wow. My mom went on blabbing, but I had heard enough. I could feel the air leaking out of my balloon swelled head as I walked into my room.
Years later, before my freshman year in high school, my mom, brother, sister, bff Ramaine and I were in a terrible car accident. I had hit my head on the back seat after a Mack truck hit us from behind and we flew head-on into a car coming in the opposite direction. I had blood flowing from my head and from my ankle, but still managed to talk to the ambulance driver person. I’m sure it was the concussion talking.
“My name is Vickie. It is spelled V-I-C-K-I-E…… Do you think my name will be in the newspaper?”
glass Vickie balls
Fast forward many years. I have divorced and have just purchased a new townhome. I am feeling liberated. I took back my maiden name and the sound of it makes me feel independent and free. I am happy. But, as I look around at new purchases, I had to smile. I must like my name.
55 years old and I'm collecting blocks...um, ok.
In the end, one needs to feel comfortable in their own skin. They need to be proud of who they are and defend their name.
Set your drink on these lovely monogrammed coasters