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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I'm Still Calling it "Super Bowl L"

You really would not believe how offended I am that the NFL has decided to forego roman numerals for this Super Bowl.  OK, scratch that.  Maybe you would.

As it turns out, "L" was not deemed an acceptable choice for a variety of reasons.  Apparently it was a marketing nightmare, not visually appealing or something.  And I've read that no one really wanted to be associated with the notion of a loser Super Bowl, because, of course, we all recognize that "L" is the universal symbol for loser... or something.

Well, here's the deal.  "L." is my name!  And names matter!

Let's just clear the air.  I prefer "L." at this point.  I recently told a group of people that I like it when my friends call me "L.", but none of them do.  I sign almost everything, "L."  I think it throws people off, which just makes it funnier.  If you had a friend, for example, who consistently used two initials, I almost guarantee you that you would follow suit when you addressed them, deeming this an appropriate name.  Think about it for a moment.  You probably know at least a handful of TJs or PJs or CJs or RJs or DJs (I think I may have just discovered my problem...  maybe I need a "J").  What do you call them?  Yep... That's what I thought...

So, here's the deal.  In Scripture we find quite a few stories about name changes.  Most often, it's God who does the changing.  Abram and Sarai become Abraham and Sarah, Jacob becomes Israel, Simon becomes Peter.  Sometimes there's an aberration from the pattern and we end up with a really interesting situation, like when Naomi renames herself Mara.  Often, these name changes mark a change in identity.

There are a lot of ways I could go with this.

I think I've been "L." for about three years.  Maybe that's not long enough for it to catch on.  I know I've been "L." almost exclusively on-line.  Sometimes I legitimately feel like my on-line persona is a different person than who I really am.  And... I tend to like her... a lot... So, maybe that's part of why I have been making the name shift, slow as it may be, in the "real world".  Sometimes I think it's about becoming who I really am, who I was really meant to be all along.  It's a good change.

Names are sort of ironic like that.  I think, in many ways, we become what we're called.  That sure makes me think twice about what I call other people...

Over the course of several years, I actually had the privilege of naming five human beings.  A lot of thought went into that process.  As a parent, you think you're going to name these kids and the names will stick.  You try out the initials, just to make sure you haven't accidentally stumbled on something profane or embarrassing.  You consider what nicknames might naturally flow from your choice.  If you're like me, you might go around and around in circles with your spouse before coming up with something that you both think you can probably live with, because whatever name you eventually choose... well... that's a word you're going to say over and over and over again, ad nauseam, for the rest of your lives!  And then the really funny part is when you are finally holding a little person in your arms and you don't actually use the name.  The name you took so much time and care to work out becomes some conglomeration of syllables said in a squishy faced baby voice, and by the time your kids are teenagers they are just praying that you won't accidentally address them as "Bubby" or "Noodle" in public.  Kids, you're welcome.

I guess when I stop to think about it, there are, in reality, quite a few names to which I am happy to answer.  There are some that are obvious.  They're titles.  I have always been "Ms. Lisa" to the friends of my children who reach back to their preschool or elementary school years.  Lately, the new friends are more likely to call me "[redacted]'s Mom," and I can roll with that, too.  I do not prefer "Mrs. Michaels," primarily because I forget to answer to it, but if people really need a title for me, at this point, I tell them that "Pastor Lisa" is alright.  My oldest daughter tells me (and everyone) that I am most likely to respond to, "Queen of the World".  It's a running joke now, because she actually said "Mom" about a dozen times, once, but I didn't hear her until she addressed me as the queen.  I do like that one, though...  "Mom," I mean...  and "Mama" and "Mo-om!"  Seems I hear that last one on a fairly regular basis lately.  Phil has some pretty good, endearing names for me, and no I am not going to make a list here.  For crying out loud.  There are some family secrets yet.  And if you're a really good friend who just refuses to convert to "L." on a regular basis, you may drop the "A" and refer to me as, "Lis..." but you really, really have to earn that one...

We were talking about the Super Bowl numbering system, right?

Regardless of what we're called, I don't think anybody legitimately wants to be a number.  Zeros and ones and all that...  But tonight some team will win Super Bowl 50, and I just feel sad about it.  I hope they will always look back and think, "It could have been L"!


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