Staying Anonymous · 9 November 2007

With my imaginary readership going from three to five, I am forced to think about how I refer to my family. I do not want those crazed fans and paparazzi hounding me much less my loved ones. And even though it may all be in my mind, like paranoia, just because I am not famous, does not mean that people are not lurking around corners trying to take my picture or get my autograph. So to protect my family from the crazies in the world, I am going to refer to them by pseudonyms.

With the help of Pacific Northwest magazine columnist Steve Johnston, I had already given my wife the moniker of The Miserable Mrs. M. Unfortunately, she did not much care for that name even though she wanted to have something like The Truly Unpleasant Mrs. Johnston which Steve Johnston uses in his column when referring to his wife. So I decided to use a more ambiguous name of The Mind-boggling Mrs. M. I figured that since “mind-boggling” can be either positive or negative, it would be a good M-adjective to use. Besides, The Mind-boggling Mrs. M is intriguing enough that it might be taken for a James Bond villain. And who would not want to be associated, even mistakenly, with the James Bond franchise.

I decided to give my kids new names too. In my column, I will refer to them, in birth order as Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3. I realized right away as I was considering pseudonyms for my children that I might offend Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, by using the Cat in the Hat’s mischievous cohorts’ names. But I could not come up with better names that were more descriptive. Child 1, 2, and 3 seemed too bland and besides, there is not a much better way to describe children. Sometimes, our teenager, Thing 1, seems less a thing and more a creature but “thing” suits all boys most of the time. After all, I tell the boys that kids do not really become human until after puberty. If they ever do at all. Especially boys.

I am not sure how it will all pan out in the end. I think my kids will have fun reading about themselves even if they are now numbered things. I think that my wife will like her new moniker being a bit mysterious and a bit Bondesque. But regardless of how they take it, I am sure that my pocketbook will be happy because of the name change. Let me explain.

Unlike our pastor, I have not chosen to give my children cash when I write about them by name. He forks out the dough when he tells a story about any of his kids during the sermon on Sunday. The Mindboggling Mrs. M and Thing 1 think it would be a great idea for me to follow our pastor’s lead but I think not. Still, if they all persist as I go from five imaginary readers to ten and maybe even more, I may need to succumb to the pressure. But then again, if I only refer to the children as Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3, maybe I will not need to hand out the cash. After all, I am not using their names.

I suppose that with only five imaginary readers and a handful of real ones, I am premature thinking about keeping my family anonymous. Then again, I think it fun to refer to them with such endearing names. And who knows, maybe one day I will see a photo of my family on some tabloid with the caption, “Michael T. Miyoshi with his family, The Mind-boggling Mrs. M, Thing 1, Thing 2, and Thing 3.” That sounds nice and anonymous. Then again, maybe all this writing has made me crazy.

© 2007 Michael T. Miyoshi

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