By Any Other Name

Have you ever wondered what your life would have felt like if you had been named differently?  Would things have gone differently for you if you were named Oliver instead of Dave, or Polly instead of Tiffany?

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about that, but today at Burger King (it was necessary, believe me) I had the opportunity to be someone else for just a few seconds. The guy at the counter took my order, looked up and said “Name?”  And for some reason I told him “Clara”.  I do not know why Clara, I just wanted to see how it felt.  It’s not my name, not even close.

I realize there was no danger involved as in a spy alias, and it wasn’t like I was lying either – he didn’t specify that it had to be my name. It was just a small, secret excitement to keep my own name hidden and be a Clara for a few minutes.  That old fashioned name that I never hear much anymore…  I had to spend the wait time consciously thinking Clara thoughts, lest I forget who I was trying to be and not recognize my food when it was called out.

What became clear to me is that I have become so accustomed to “living in” my name, writing it, seeing it on letters, name badges, checks, hearing it spoken and just thinking it, that I can’t imagine being anyone else.  It identifies my life to me and it feels strange to be called anything else.  Just sayin’…

Clara's receipt, complete with ketchup.
Clara’s receipt, complete with ketchup.

(Another totally weird thing is to google your name and see how many other people are called the same thing? How can that be? Have you done that?)