22 March 2011

7 i am not who i am

i was born in 1981 and named faith caroline eaton.

my parents named me this with the intention peculiar to southern landed gentry of always calling me by my middle name. in justifying this later, my mother would say, "like katie scarlett o'hara." as though the connection to gone with the wind automatically made everything ok.

in 1983, my parents took the extraordinary step of changing my name with the social security administration. the end result was that my first name was an initial, rather than the name i did not yet, at that time, know i had.

they remember none of this. or so they say. upon digging a bit deeper the truth comes out that my mother, compelled by belated guilt, had formally changed my first name to "f." so that, upon entering school, i would not be confronted with the horrible truth.

this is who we are. a family whose closet, from 1983 to1987, held the deep dark secret that my first name was faith.

the secret has long since come out, but apparently not to the extent that it has been rectified on a governmental level. i learned this last friday, when i went to the social security administration office to order a replacement social security card for the card that no one in my family had taken responsibility for keeping.

it was a discovery that made the process of getting an illinois driver's license ten days longer than it needed to be, but also one that led to the realization that in doing the things on the list of things that need to be done what i'm really doing is amassing a deck of cards.

7 comments:

Les Savy Ferd said...

there is some confusion about my real name as well, although not to the extent where my first name may or may not be an initial.

I exist, on several govt registries as a junior (my father and I share the exact same name) but on others my folks weren't so meticulous.

So technically, were L and I to have a boy (I can hear her cringing from miles away) and named it after me they would get the awesome III after their name.

However I would never be so vindictive as to name a child Doug, in this day and age.

oline said...

i always wish the III system would extend beyond III outside of the realm of popes. in real life it always seems to stop at the III and just once i would love to be able to introduce someone as blah blah XXVII.

Les Savy Ferd said...

well that is probably just due to the inclination to name people after someone other than ourselves. That, and war, disease, and the lack of male heirs to continue the name cutting down family trees before they have a chance to grow XXVII branches.

But I hear you.

Osutein said...

I feel your pain. One of my JET teachers last year was similar. His first name on his passport was an initial, on his birth certificate an actual name, but he went by his middle name. Sorting it out for my bosses in Tokyo was a nightmare.

So... in that "did you know?" box in the Norton Anthology of the future, will you listed F.(at) Caroline Eaton?

oline said...

dude, this is fast becoming the most highly evolved "did you know?" box in norton history. and it's all your entry, right? i think that's my favorite part.

Osutein said...

Did You Know?

Austin H. Gilkeson's most famous quote was not actually written by Austin H. Gilkeson, but by Austin H. Gilkeson-Yet-to-Come, who was not as good of a writer as Austin H. Gilkeson. Also, F.(at) Caroline Eaton? Not actually fat.

oline said...

best use of also ever.