Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What’s in a Name Anyway?

I took the day off to become “official” with the whole last name thing. Remember this story started on a Saturday when I was denied out right? So, anyway, I took a day off to get all of this corrected and hashed out. I headed out to my first stop, my stomach telling me in advance that I would most likely encounter some kind of issue. Let me back up 30+ years, to my birth. My mother and father could not agree on my name so decided to put all the choices together, giving me a first name, and two middle names; and we aren’t even royalty. All told, I had 4 names. When my mother received my Birth Certificate, my 2nd middle name was misspelled. This misspelling made the name the “male” version, which, clearly, I am NOT. However, since it was “only” a middle name, they never bothered to have it corrected. I said I would do it when I turned 16, I didn’t. Then I said I would do it when I turned 18, again, slacked off. It didn’t happen when I turned 21 or 30, I just couldn’t be bothered. I know, I shot myself in the foot on this one.
Back to current time……
Upon arriving at the Social Security office I take my number and take my seat. I begin to freak myself out. I had filled out the paper work ahead of time, nicely typed, and corrected, and typed and corrected, changing the “misspelled” name a million times over.(not really, just like twice) I get sweaty, antsy. I was all manner of worked up when finally my number was called.
(Ok, I KNOW this isn’t that big of a deal, and I totally blew it out of portion, but for whatever reason I was just really freaked that they would turn me away and I would be caught in this months long battle to simply add F’s last name to mine. I was being overly dramatic, I have no idea why.)
I head up to the non-private window determined to be polite and disarmingly charming.
“HI! I’m here for a name change!” as I hand over my neatly typed form and marriage license and Pass Port.
“OK, great.” He begins to look over the paperwork and his forehead furrows.
“There are a lot of different spellings here.”
“Yeah, I know, it’s spelled so many different ways on so many different things. *weight of the world sigh*”
“Is this how it is on your Birth Certificate?”
“Yes, they misspelled it.”
“WELL! (overtly cheerful!) That’s not a misspelling! That’s who you ARE! That’s your NAME! Here’s not where you’d change that!”
And for whatever reason, I kinda, slightly, lost my cool.
“It doesn’t need to be changed, it needs to be corrected. Its spelled A-B-C-D-E-F-G, NOT A-B-C-E-F-G. I didn’t have anything to do with the change on, on, the, oh, the…..”
And here is where I start to sputter. I knew I shouldn’t push the government worker, but my brain decided to turn to mush on me. It took me a good 2 minutes of sputtering to finally get out, “PASS PORT!” instead of Post Office. I felt the heat rise in my face. This is NOT the way I wanted this to go down.
“And how is it on your Social Security card?”
“I think it only has the first middle name on it.” (it actually, I found later, only has my first middle initial on it, neither of the middle names are spelled out.)
Several long moments of agonizing silence pass. The Government Worker is typing away on his computer.
“Ok. Well, here it is, now look over everything and make sure it is all correct. When you go to your next stop, see if they’ll change it on your driver’s license, because really, you want all these things to match up.”

VICTORY WAS MINE!!!!!! PROPERLY SPELLED MIDDLE NAME!!!! Hyphened LAST NAME!!! I walked out of the Social Security office with the weight of FIVE properly spelled names proudly about my shoulders!!!

With renewed hope I made my way to get my driver’s license changed. I even got pushed up in line as a “return customer”, even though I tried to explain to the man that I was a return from a WEEK AGO. I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I took up the “no waiting, return customers only” spot.
I was called to the counter.
“HI! I’m here for a name change!” nice smile, nice innocent smile.
“Where’s your return pass?”
“I don’t have one.”
“You don’t? Who told you to come up here?”
“The man.”
“And they didn’t give you a return pass??”
“No?” confused innocence.
“Hmmm, I wonder why.”
*Innocent shoulder shrug and head shake* (I said a silent prayer to GOD to forgive me my half truthful lies)
“Ok, well, let’s get this done.”
She gets down to business and I try to slip in the spelling correction when she slides the paper over to me, “Can’t you, uh, change this so it matches up to what Social Security has?”
“No. That’s something you’ll have to go to court to have changed. We view that as you, legally.”
I decided not to push the issue. I had lined jumped after all.
New picture! New NAME! NEW LICENSE!
YES! Two down, two to go!

1 comment:

Becky said...

That sucks that they can't change it at the DMV. In MN, when you are married, you can change your name to whatever you want, and that becomes your new legal name. Any other time you want to change it at all you have to go to court.

I'm glad you got your name corrected with Social Security, though. Maybe in another 30 years you can get the DMV to get it right! ;-)