Today, we got a legal document in the mail. It concerned a piece of property that my husband and I jointly own. The document included my husband’s full name and my first name and middle initial. Both our signatures are required. So, I have the choice of instructing the sender to redo the document to include all of my legal name or signing it like I was Cher or Prince, a person so unique I go by just one name.
Should I go ahead and sign it Janice K.?
Or maybe I should create an enigmatic symbol to replace my first name and middle initial. Something mysterious and unique like a masked bird in flight carrying a sack of tiny donuts. Sure, I’d have to practice drawing it a lot before signing a legal document but once I get it right, I could branch off into tattoos and nose rings.
When I tell the sender that they omitted my last name, they will apologize and say that someone in their office, some lowly secretary they call Melissa P., made the completely erroneous assumption that my husband and I share the same last name. It’s a common mistake, they’ll say, and then they’ll wait for me to say, don’t worry, everyone makes that mistake. And they’ll tell Melissa P. to make the change and roll their eyes like marbles across an old kitchen floor.
Oh heavens, people are so touchy about their names. Like it’s some kind of big fucking deal to them.