Once again, McSweeney’s was not quite as entertained by my ramblings as I was, as is usually the case.
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE LADY IN LINE NEXT TO ME AT STAPLES WHO THOUGHT MAKING THAT JOKE ABOUT MY LAST NAME WAS EVEN SLIGHTLY ORIGINAL AND/OR HUMEROUS.
When I was born on June 5, 1973, my mother was married to my father, Robert Munday. She liked the name Leslie, and my father’s aunt was called Elizabeth. Hence, my name: Leslie Elizabeth Munday. Notice the last name? Munday? It’s the same exact name that I currently have, and the only name that I have ever had, in my whole entire forty-three-year-long life. And, believe it or not, over those forty-three years I have actually noticed that my last name is, phonetically, a day of the week. It’s a pretty simple association really, one that most six-year olds make with relative ease. So, although I don’t expect you, total stranger, to know exactly how old I am, I do expect you to guess that I—we—are no longer in elementary school.
Here’s something I bet you didn’t know: for as long as I can remember, my father made reservations under the last name of “Williams,” which I never quite understood as a child. I romanticized that he was trying to be anonymous, like a famous Hollywood actor type who couldn’t be bothered by adoring fans, or a 007 spy who needed to get in and get out unnoticed because he’d just poisoned the Baron. It didn’t occur to me then, though it certainly does now, that he did it to avoid the inevitable and annoying tool that thinks they are the first person in the history of mankind to notice and then make a joke about our surname. Simply answering the question, “What name is your reservation under?” has become a tiring act of obligatory chuckles, forced half-smiles, and “Yep, a Munday eating on a Monday. Good one.”
So, lady in line next to me at Staples who thought making that joke about my last name was even slightly original and/or humorous at this point in the game, you should know that I’ve tried to be patient over the years. I really have. I’ve endured and obliged countless people just like you by being polite when they’ve sung, “Monday, Monday, so good to me…” or enthusiastically exclaimed “Monday, Tuesday! Ha! See what I did there?!” But, so many years later, I’m officially beaten down. And, I’m betting by the size of your saucer eyes when I looked at the cashier, flippantly nodded in your direction, and said, “This one should have been a fucking* standup comedian,” that you were beaten down too. And, I’m also betting that you were wishing that my name were Leslie Smith.
Until the next time,
*Note: To be honest, I did not actually say the word “fucking” (or anything else for that matter) in my out loud voice. But, as they say, never let the truth get in the way of a good story.