|Dad helping us try out our newly installed swing set.|
I'm the littlest one.
"We don't put hats on our Js," said Mrs. McClelland.
I don't have any fond memories of Kindergarten.
It was later in grade school when I realized mine wasn't a girl's name. People had a rough time with it. One of my dad's friends perpetually called me Josie. Many insisted I must be Jody. Some caught the Joey part, but insisted on calling me Joey Lynn.
That bothered me more than anything.
"Did your parents want a boy?" was a common question as it is apparently acceptable to suggest that my birth was a total disappointment. "Are you named after your dad?" and "Is it short for Josephine?" were the usual follow ups. A fifth grade boy once argued with me for ten minutes that Joey couldn't be my whole, real name. My cousin dubbed me G.I. Joe. I regularly got invitations to exclusive boys only clubs. In my twenties there were promos for Penthouse and Playboy magazine.
Through it all, I remained quite determined that I should be called Joey. Close friends and family called me Jo, but there was a definite threshold people needed to get past to be so familiar. And under no circumstances should anyone call me Joey Lynn. That made my skin crawl.
Then I got married and it all fell apart. Joey Resciniti rolls off the tongue in such a way that the world will not accept that the person before them could be anything other than a cast member of the Sopranos. Having a daughter further complicated things. Julia must be the mom and her son is called Joey. Nothing else makes any sense. Waitresses consistently hand my credit card back to my husband. Once when I lunched with a mom-friend, the Olive Garden waitress set the card down and said, "be sure to thank your husband for the lunch!"
So I decided to embrace the middle name and let it show that I'm a girl. I put Joey Lynn on everything and took to introducing myself that way on the phone. I've desensitized myself to that which once annoyed me to the core thus triggering an immediate opportunity for the universe to once again mess with me.
Everyone has started calling me Jo. Acquaintances introduce me to new people as Jo, further extending the circle of Jo-callers that are not close friends and family. And my dad has taken to saying things like, "this is my boy, Jo" because he's a funny guy.
I give up. Call me whatever. I'm done. In fact, if we meet in the real world, just tell me what you think my name should be. Just try to make it something that starts with the letter J. I like a letter that wears a hat even when it doesn't need one.