Why I never change my name.

I've been married three times and I never changed my name. Once a friend told me she heard her two year old chanting something and it turned out he was whispering "mollymoynahan" over and over again to help him fall asleep. After that I decided if my name was good enough to soothe a toddler, it should remain mine forever. So, I know about marriage, about divorce, about parenting, daughtering, being fifty plus, having a mean sister, having a dead sister, temporarily fearing fame, loving someone who didn't love me, being loved and not loving back. I have lived in New Jersey, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago, London and Dublin. I have had many, many jobs including fake patient and novelist, cocktail waitress, selling linen and tons of teaching. What I do well-cooking, writing, bicycling, driving, teaching, swimming, talking, reading, needlepointing, accepting defeat, being kind, mothering, tree pose, teaching, getting married. What I do badly-dieting, singing, math, navigating, napping, waiting, fighting, accepting disappointment.
Today we checked into this fancy hotel in Lake Forest, IL *(sort of like a fake perfect town) and we rode our bikes to the lake. A depressed looking teenager demanded an ID. We told her we were visiting and she demanded money. "No," I said. She started radio contact with someone who sounded ill equipped to be an authority figure. "They don't have IDs," she said. "We're staying in the hotel," I said. "Ask them for a room key," Opie said. I produced a room key but it didn't have the hotel's name on it. "There's no name on it," she said into the radio. "Oh, for God's sake," I said. "Just let us in." A small child tried to get by this teenage prison guard. "Do you have an ID?" 'No," the child said. She was sent back to the vast SUV from whence she came.  A policewoman approached. "She's just doing her job," this upholder of the public peace said. "Don't raise your voice." My husband produced a receipt from our lunch. "There," I said, snatching it before the teenager would notice it wasn't a room bill.
On the way down there was a sweaty yuppie running the stairs. "I can't believe she stopped us," I said to my husband. "She's just doing her job," said the sweaty yuppie. This was the main defense used during the Nuremberg Trials.


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