experiment: identity change


why do people call me this? how and when and where did it start?

i suppose at first it was for utility’s sake. it’s hard having more than one adrienne around. and since adrienne and i have been bosom friends since we were 10, and now are roommates, at some point along the way it happened to be easier for those around us to refer to us by our last names. that’s my theory, anyway.

well, to be precise, it started with soccer nicknames. two adrienne’s on the shamrocks was a lot. i think i’ll credit jeff thornburgh (or one of his daughters) with coining “Ace” and “AA,” for her and i, respectively—nicknames that passed in a sporting environment, but didn’t really fly elsewhere. that being said, certain individuals have gained the right to refer to us by those much quicker acronyms (you know who you are), and really, i don’t i know what i’d do if i ever visited the thornburgh’s and was called anything else besides “AA.”

but this “aggen” business is different. every time i’m summoned in such a way i flinch inside and feel like a swift pat on the rear is going to follow. “gee coach, i’d love to go back on the field and thrash those Huskies in the final playoff game, but you see, i’ve got this bum ankle, see. let Little Legs LaRue go in my place, coach."

you know!? really, gosh, sorry i’m such an absurdly fantastic natural athlete, but it’s not like i’m walking around in a pinnie all the time, right?

sports aside, it’s such a harsh word. it’s just so. . . . so. . .German. i certainly love it for how unique it is, but i dislike it because i think hearing it is a bit like the fresh sting of shrapnel in your face.


doesn’t it just sound like a detonation? don’t you just feel like the HJ is going to show up at your door, and start knocking over cabinets and end tables in a mad jew-hunt?* you almost have to shout it when you say it.

along the way, others have had their merry ways with it and taken the liberty of devising other pronunciations.

chateau salutes the motherland with a chesty “AHHHGUN!” in the manner of someone who subsists on a steady diet of barley and commercial concrete.

christina “aggens” all day and night when she’s off duty from admiring her boyfriend’s backside.

casey still “AA’s” on occasion. this is okay. this is nostalgic.

spencer tosses “dudes,” around like he does whippersnappers, and does so totally irrespective of gender.

kendra “A”s.

lindsey alarmingly “AGGEN!”s to lure me into the living room, only to find she is trying to seduce me into watching top model marathons. tricky, linds.

jared? he calls me “baby.” but not unless it’s followed with “Sinclair.” (really now, do you see a resemblance?)

i think the only person who actually calls me by my Christian name is The Other Adrienne.

but this “aggen” thing has caught on, dare i say it, and is by far the leader. so getting to the point, and i do have one,

i don’t really like being called by my surname.

so i decided it might be a fun experiment to start telling people, that yes, after all these years, they were in fact mispronouncing my last name. i thought maybe they’d feel guilty for having done wrong all these years and start calling me by the safer, “adrienne.”

commence name change.

i re-recorded my voicemail message telling the listener they’d reached the phone of “Adrienne Awhgun.”

i started correcting people left and right. i started referring to myself in the third person. i started looking for any excuse to use my full name.

cashier at pinkberry, i know you didn’t ask for my full name on that order, but i’m giving it to you.

i had, what i’d call, mixed success.

dan on voicemail: “Aaahgun? what?”
emily: “is that what you’re going by now? why?”
christina: “that’s not how you say it, is it? i think you’re lying."
courtney on voicemail: “Awegun? i love it, it sounds trendy.”

et al.

those who believed my lie quickly apologized, and clearly felt bad. and then i felt bad, too. even worse when they reverted to AWHGUN instead of ADRIENNE anyway! how dare they! foiled by my own foil! counter-foiled!

no one felt bad for their alleged gaffe, no one even remembered the next month, and soon they were back to their “aggen-ing” all over again!

ah me. the life of a liar. but now that you know of the stupid lengths i went to get a name change, maybe you’ll oblige me. please call me Adrienne. let it be said. i like my name. i like that it’s feminine, i like that it's french, i like that it has a meaning befitting me (dark, ha). i know your other names for me may be deeply deeply ingrained in your subconscious, but try at least.

what i have learned:

there’s no point in being a good liar if no one even cares about the lie. it's much easier to just ask for something if you want it, than it is to devise a scheme.

*this is not a racist statement, i love jews. they are kind enough to let me live in their city.


dn said...

That's why you need a good nickname. If you would have went camping in SW Missouri with me you would have been given a river nickname. Mine was "Hard Tack", Chris' was "Hound Dog", and Shawn's was "Ol' Cracked Jug".

How do you feel about "White Lightning?"

Corinne said...

um...I believe you forgot the most unique nickname (ahem, Jello)

casey elizabeth said...

yay! i am allowed to AA you!

what a detailed attempt at training people to call you adrienne. only you would come up with such a dubious plan.


i love it. and you'll always be AA to the Thornburgh's (cue Tupac, "that's just the way it is...somethings will never change...").

lindsey said...

Looking back, I ought to have offered a defense of myself with regards to this post.

I've been called Ramsey for as far back as I can remember. And there aren't even other Lindsey's that I'm close friends with. I think it sprang up in the days of Lindsey McNaulty, way back in 6th grade. However, I lived with two Adrienne's for a year and spent an inordinate amount of time with both of them.

For clarity sake, I think I should be forgiven for my inability to call you Adrienne. It's now a habit and you should have said something four years ago before things had carried on so ridiculously.

In short, I'll try to do better. But Aggen or Adrienne, you know I love you more than my luggage.