You know, when I started writing for the Tribune Chronicle well over a decade ago, I decided to use my nickname instead of my formal name in my byline.
And so, my readers have gotten to know me as my friends, colleagues, and associates do: not so much as "Patricia" but more as just, you know, plain old Patty.
Almost immediately after my name started appearing in the Trib, many of my pals and family members showed distress. "Why wouldn't you use your formal name?" "Are you crazy? You can't go by Patty!" "It sounds so unprofessional."
Hmm. Hasn't seemed to hurt Katie Couric at all. Either way.
I love my formal name AND my nickname and am just naturally more comfortable with the latter. When I hear someone call me the former, I initially think I'm in some sort of trouble.
Any who, I hadn't really given the name game much thought - that is, until I heard about a uniquely-titled storm hovering over the Bahamas recently.
That's right. The 16th Atlantic tropical depression of this season formed northeast of The Bahamas last weekend and guess what her name was? You know it: Tropical Depression Patty.
The good news is, she never materialized into a hurricane. In fact, she dissipated two days after forming.
Whew. Well, sorta.
I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm really glad Tropical Depression Patty petered out before she did any harm. But I gotta admit, I was kind of hoping she'd at least make some water spouts or something. You know - a little pizzazz or zing or -kapow!
Why is it that my first name rarely gets her props? My work pal Patty and I were discussing it the other day. We lamented how there are no great love songs, novels, films or even TV programs with Patty in the title.
We commiserated over the way our shared first name rarely gets spelled correctly. I get "Patti" a lot. Sometimes I get the hamburger version of my name, "Pattie." Occasionally, I'm even transformed into goose liver, i.e. Pate.
Think I'm overreacting? Then explain these results for my Internet search of "Famous Pattys":
1. Krabby Patty ("Sponge Bob" cartoon)
2. Patty Cake (comic strip)
3. Peppermint Patty ("Charlie Brown" comic strip / cartoon)
4. York Peppermint Patties (candy)
5. Patti Mayonnaise (cartoon character)
6. Jamaican Beef Patties
7. Patti Smith ("Godmother of Punk")
8. Patti LaBelle (soul singer)
OK, I'm grateful for the two soul sisters. But, four cartoon characters, a candy bar and some jerky?
True, Pats and Patricias seem to be more popular (think Benatar and Arquette or Heaton). And clearly, Trishes and Tricias are automatically cooler and more trendy. But Patty? I gave the world wide web one more chance to give me some love. Guess who I got?
Patty Hearst. Third and final HMPF!!
Oh well, at least my spouse understands. To assuage me, he teases me mercilessly by referring to me as "Pat" - as in the androgynous Saturday Night Live character whose gender is a mystery. My husband, ladies and gentlemen.
You know, I WOULD be totally offended ... IF his name wasn't Kerry. HA! Guess we really are the perfect couple.
Happy Sunday to all Pattys, Pattis, Patties and Paddys! And everyone else, too.
com. Don't call her Patricia unless you want to scare the bejeepers out of her.