The other day I was at the checkout at Ross (quelle surprise) and noticed the cashier's name tag.
"Linda. Great name!" I said, being the idiot that I am. She gave me a sheepish look and said something like, "Yeah, there's no hiding our age, huh?"
No, there isn't. I'm gonna guess that about 99% of women named Linda were born between 1943 and 1963, probably because of the song "Linda" that came out in 1946. According to this website, the song was written by Jack Lawrence for the 5-year-old daughter of his lawyer, Lee Eastman. Linda Eastman grew up to marry Paul McCartney, who wrote another song, "The Lovely Linda," for her. Imagine having two songs written and recorded for you?
Linda was an extremely popular name in 1957; I was one of four Lindas in my class in elementary school. There was Linda Smitas, Linda Smith, Linda Goldstein, and me (Linda Haber). I always loved being a Linda; seriously, I felt I hit the jackpot when it came to getting a cool name.
For as loony as my parents were--my Type A father having a friggin' heart attack any time someone spilled the gravy at dinner and my Jeopardy-addicted agoraphobic mother--they sure pulled through when it came to naming me. It was a close call, though. When I was little, my mother told me I was almost named Deirdre, and I remember thinking, "What the hell kind of name is that?"
These days, as the cashier in Ross reminded me, the name is pretty dated. I've come across only one Linda below the age of 30--a gothic-looking cashier in Pier I Imports who was named after Linda Ronstadt and who clearly didn't share my enthusiasm for her parents' taste. My own daughter, in her teen years, used to practically howl over my name because she thought it sounded so old fashioned, just as I giggled at my paternal grandmother's name: Mabel.
"See me in a couple of decades, Courtney," I'd tell my little clone, because Courtney is just the Linda of a later era.
I know a Linda who goes by "Lindy" at the advice of someone who told her a younger-sounding name would give her a professional advantage. Whatever. Dated or not, I love being a Linda. I've always felt like a Linda and I think I even look like a Linda. And who knows? Maybe someday my granddaughter will name her baby after her granny, and Linda will become hip again.
You know, like Hazel.
How about you? Do you like your name? Does it fit you? Did you ever wish you were named something else?
P.S. I don't have a middle name; none of the girls in my family do. "Linda Lou" is a nickname my friend Chief gave me at a beer party when I was in my 20s. When I started doing comedy, I didn't want to perform under my real last name because I wasn't sure if I was going to keep B.H's name or not after our divorce. So I decided to perform as Linda Lou, and then used that as a pen name when I starting writing.
Between us, "Linda Lou" sounds like I'm a goddamn hillbilly, instead of a multi-generation Yankee, but at this point there's no turning back. But looking forward... who knows.