My parents wanted me to suffer. They got mad when their little mistake came out with exterior genitalia and they immediately thought: how can we make sure this child experiences constant hardship throughout their life without doing anything tangible to be blamed for? So they named me Elf. The first gnome ever discovered was a wooden carved statue in northern Sweden with the name Nisse carved into the pedestal. Thus my parents; people who grew up small and were going to raise me a vegetarian – people who knew my fate of an adolescence cursed with miniature stature, decided to name me after one of santa’s little helpers.
This name also offered an opportunity for my late-blooming puberty to offer me even more hardships in the form of misunderstanding the gender of my name and therefore being. And it assured that I would never have my name pronounced right the first time and each first day of class would start with the entirety of my schoolmates laughing at the teacher’s earnest attempt at reading a foreign word. This name caused a bird-apocalypse with one stone.
I no longer have first days of class, I now grow too much gross scraggly hair on my body to be confused for a female, and I stand a reasonably tall 5’9″, so the name has lost some of its power. That is not to say that my parents’ desire to see my constantly suffer has not come to fruition. Now I deal with an introduction conversation that is so routine that I begin answering people’s questions before they ask them. [What was your name? – Nisse – Wh..- It’s Swedish. – How.. – My mom’s Swedish. – And.. – It means elf. – (Then they say something that I don’t listen to but I laugh afterward because I know that they attempted to tell a joke)] Now I deal with girls who get excited about my name because they are “obsessed with gnomes” (This is far more common than any of you assume) – girls who have high pitched voices and were treated well in middle school. Girls who remember fondly the time when they thought leprechauns and Santa and the Easter Bunny, but now recognize that it’s not cool to like those things and therefore go for the Arcade Fire of the imaginary being world – gnomes. The girl who is the hipster child. The girl I typically have no interest in but is always attractive in a mousey brunette with old navy shirts and capris sort of way.
Then I get stuck being told that I need to understand when you weigh as little as I, and when you dress as absurdly as I, and have as little sexual confidence as I, that I need to count my lucky that Miss. Mousey and Typically Attractive talks to me let alone wants to let me make out with her. And, yes that is all Mousey desires. Mice don’t like to fuck. Why do I weigh so little? My parents raised me to not eat meat. Why do i dress so absurdly? Because my parents lined my dressers with free health-food t-shirts. Why do I have such pitiful sexual confidence? My name is not H2$, but rather a name of elfish proportions. And this forces me in this pathetic cycle of being told to keep chasing mice that I don’t want to chase.
So I thank my parents. Because without their desire to torture me, I might have turned out sans neurosis. I could be sitting in an office married to some vaguely mousey girl who went to Boston University with me instead of typing hateful words while sitting in a pile of my own peanut butter and jelly sandwich crumbs with fresh memories of female rejection swarming my head.
Thanks for not letting me become boring.