This Halloween I Faced My Greatest Fear
Yes, that’s Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Also my long time nemesis. I used to hate her. She took a perfectly good name and turned it into a joke. On her About Me page she says, “When you hear the name Elvira only one person comes to mind…”
Excuse me? What did that make me, and while we’re at it, at least a thousand other people? Chopped liver?
You might be thinking, “Gee, Elvira, why would it scare you to be associated, even loosely, with a slutty, Vampira wannabe in a cheap wig?
[Yes. Before Elvira there was Vampira, circa 1953, the first ever late night horror film hostess. She was featured in that wonderfully campy Tim Burton film 'Ed Wood', with Johnny Depp as the cross dressing Mr. Wood.]
I don’t really mind that much…anymore…but once upon a time I dreaded hearing my name mispronounced and dis-respected. It hurt to hear people call me things like Velveeta cheese. God! Couldn’t my name at least sound like a classy cheese, like, l don’t know… Brie?
It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out why I would get defensive, not to say persnickety, or snotty, about my name being misprounced or made fun of. Your name is your badge of honor, your coat of arms, your flag! I went through years and years, ever since I could talk, correcting people about how to say and spell my name. [Does Growing Up With a Difficult Name Build Character?] If you have a difficult name you know exactly what I’m talking about.
But I’m not touchy about my name any more. No, no, no! Having it mangled before my ears is nothing to me now. Being mature and of a certain age has its perks, one of which is you just don’t care as much. It’s nice, really. Many of my comrades in middle-age-dom like to say they are in their “F*#k you, Fifties” (or Forties, or Sixties) and proud of it! Maybe there’s something to that.
Could it be I’ve faced my fear of name abuse so many times and for so long that I’ve finally gotten to the other side of it? I don’t correct people as much as I used to or wince so much, either. I like to think I’ve grown up about it, gained some perspective.
Besides, as I said to a friend recently, it could be worse. At least Elvira/Vampira is hot in a ghoulish, Morticia Addams kind of way.
Ah, Morticia! Now there’s a vampire with class!
Photo courtesy San Diego Shooter via Flickr