A week after I got married I took the real plunge. I went to change my name. Officially. Legally. I always thought that when it was time to change my name I would be thrilled. I had lived with Barkoff for 28 years, and endured a childhood, and even sometimes adulthood, of mild teasing, and creative nicknames for the name Barkoff. It was anywhere from your typical “Barky” (dance teacher in dance class for at least 8-9 years), “Barkoff” (never Sarah, just Barkoff all throughout high school), “Barks” (my academic advisor just this past year. <–No, I am not joking), and the latest “Beazle” (my mother-in-law coined the phrase, and now whole the fam calls me it, but that one I actually like.) The point is, you would think I would be excited to get rid of Barkoff, and embrace my new last name, which was going to be Palma. Palma is such an upgrade from Barkoff (Sorry Dad), right?! Well, I was excited at the prospect of my new last name, but I knew it would feel weird to adjust to it. Matt (husband) luckily was very understanding about it, and even told me I didn’t have to do change it right away. However, when we went to deposit our checks from the wedding, we were told there were new restrictions since 9/11. If our checks were written out to Matthew Palma and Sarah Palma, then they could only be deposited if Sarah Palma was the name on my account. Therefore, I had to change my name legally to do so. Changing my name on a new drivers license was the quickest and easiest way to do that, so off to the DMV we went.
By the time we got there I was ready to do it, but still a little nervous. Right off the bat when we walked in I had to sign a little card that would be my signature on my new license with my new last name. Wait, I never even practiced writing the “P” in Palma. Yes, I think I actually said something to that effect out loud, because the woman behind the desk looked at me like I was a total moron. Oopsies. Awkward. I signed the dumb card, got my little number, and waited for my turn.
While filling out my paperwork, I got a rather brilliant idea!
I’ll give myself two middle names! Freaking genius level! That way, I wouldn’t be completely parting with my former identity, I would just be parting with it halfsies. And halfsies I could toooootally live with. Hooray. So, it was settled. My legal name would be Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff Palma. No, not Barkoff-(slash) Palma. Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff (def no slash) Palma, and Elizabeth Barkoff would be my new middle name. Perf. My number flashed on the neon screen, and I was up. I was still feeling very pleased with myself. In fact, so pleased that it gave me a little pep to my step as I approached the clerk. However, my pep was no sooner squashed. As I approached the woman behind the desk, feeling ever so confident, I couldn’t help but notice that she was not smiling back at me. I searched her face for a little smile? No, not even a little smile. Yep, we’ve got a full on scowling broad on our hands here. I began to feel self-conscious as she was reading over my paperwork. I saw her eyes scan the part which I had previously been so triumphant about (genius idea of two middle names), and then go back. Oh Lordy. Please don’t go back. Please don’t got back. Yep, she going back. Ugh.
I tried to act really casual, “Yes, whats the problem?” I even tried out a little perturbed-ness in my voice to scare her off.
She wasn’t amused. Or scared. At all. She rolled her eyes at me and said, “Right here Miss, whats this here, two middle names? Elizabeth Barkoff? What is that?” By now she just hated me.
“Oh, I just thought that I could have two middles names, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. You know what I mean?” I searched my brain for further references to support my claim, then I actually said out loud, “You know, like Nicole Richie‘s kids, don’t they have about 10 middle names?” This followed by somewhat hysterical laughter, until it died down to a low-toned quiver. So awkward. Okay, normally I wouldn’t be so moronic, but I got nervous. And when I get nervous sh*t seems to spew out of my mouth profusely.
“Okay, well I just thought I’d try,” I tried to add as bubbly as possible, “I am just adjusting to having a new last name.”
“Well, you’ll get over it,” she said matter of factly as she sent me packing.
And that was it. The final word in drivers licenses with a new last name.
What a betch.
Then, as I walked away I heard her turn to the guy in the next station and say (in between evil laughs of BWAHHHH-HAHAHA-BWAHHHHHHHH-HAHAHA (<—-Although I could have just been imagining that part), “Can you believe the winners we’ve had here today?!” P.S. With a heavy emphasis and sarcastic tone on the word “winners.”
I walked out of the DMV with my new last name and without my pride.
But yes, I did get over it.