Hello, my name is Susie.
“Does anyone ever call you Susie Q?”
Nope. Nobody, ever, in my entire life. Never. Not once.
And by that I mean, yes. Everyone, always. For my entire life. Every time. Susie Q, all day every day, as the nickname-of-choice from every person I’ve ever met – and they always phrase it exactly like that, “Does anyone ever call you…” as if they legitimately think they might be the first one to ever come up with it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate people associating me with Creedence Clearwater Revival and fun 50s characters from Disney channel movies. It could be worse. I could be a celebrity baby and have to forever answer to something like North West or Apple. Or I could be like Matthew McConnaughey’s nephew and be named “Miller Lyte” after his dad’s favorite beer. All things considered, “Susie Q” isn’t the worst nickname ever.
But to make matters more complicated, Susie is not even my first name.
“Oh, so it’s your middle name?”
You would think so, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t that be nice, to have a totally logical and non-convoluted answer to that question? But no, logic and simplicity must have been the last thing on my parents’ minds when they looked into my fat little baby face for the first time. Instead of just holding me up Lion King-style and triumphantly shouting “Citizens of the world, I give you: SUSIE!” like any other normal parent would, they completely threw the rulebook out the window. When the nurse kindly drafted up the birth certificate and, pen-in-hand, asked what they would like to name their new little baby – they decided to give me a whole phrase of a name.
When I picture this now, I imagine them scheming like cartoon villains, rubbing their hands together and laughing maniacally. “We’ll name her Mary. But she won’t be called Mary – no no, that would be much too easy – Write this down, nurse! This child will henceforth and forever be known as:
‘Mary Susanne, Susie for short.’
I do not go by my first or middle names. I go by an abbreviated version of my middle name. And “Mary Susanne, Susie for short” became the slogan of my entire existence, confusing every teacher and employer alike for the rest of my life.
Having to go through this every time I was introduced to someone became so monotonous, that at one point in my childhood I went through a phase where I decided to rewrite the history of my nomenclature. It went like this:
“Well my parents named me Mary, but I never really felt like a Mary, you know? So one day I just woke up, and decided I didn’t want to be called Mary anymore, and I told people to start calling me Susie – and they did! So anyway that’s the story about how I, Susie, am the master of my own destiny and in other words am the coolest person ever.”
It was still a weird thing to explain, but it at least felt better to frame it as a personal choice, and paint this picture that I’m the kind of person who just wakes up in the morning and decides to redefine her whole existence. It gave me a sense of power and control that “I dunno, my parents are weird” just didn’t achieve. I stuck with this story for so long that there is an absolute possibility that there are still people in my life who believe it to be true. (And if any of those people are reading this right now, disregard this entire post. It went down exactly how I said it went down.)
In the end, though, I guess Susie’s pretty cool. I like to think that I’m “math problem famous” – as in, Susie has 12 apples and gives Billy 4; how many apples does Susie have left?
That all depends, though, did Billy call me Susie Q? Because if so, just screw the whole thing. No apples for Billy. Susie still has 12.
(In response to this DPChallenge)