Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hello, My Name is...

Posted By on Tue, May 20, 2008 at 7:02 PM

I never really felt like an “Ashley.”  For a long time, the name seemed a bit too girly for my taste.  It made me think of flowery duvets and things with ruffles, which just wasn’t me.  In college, several of my guy friends pointed out that my first name is not exactly uncommon among strippers, and that, too, seemed like a bad fit.  I needed a name that suited me.  I am someone who wears Gin and Tonic perfume and once stole a book of Leonard Nimoy poetry, who loves Dorothy Parker and television shows on the radio and owns a pair of shoes my best friend calls “the flip-flops of death.” 

I started going by my last name, which was fine except that sometimes people have trouble remembering it.  One summer, I volunteered at a special effects film camp, and kids aged 7-9 called me everything from McKenzie to MacKelly.  That didn’t bother me.  Unfortunately, the guy who ran the camp couldn’t remember it either, although he refused to admit it.  For two weeks he addressed me by nodding in my direction and saying “YOU.”  As in, “I need YOU [exaggerated nod] to go help them get on the zip line.”  That didn’t bother me either.  What bothered me was that there was another volunteer that summer, Meg, and the instructor used her in the vast majority of his demonstrations.  I suspected he called on her so often because he could remember her name—he called her “Magic Meg”—and as a result, it was Meg who got to fly, get shot at, and be set on fire.

That bothered me quite a bit.

I’ve graciously been allowed to blog here, and I plan to tell lots of stories.  If you read them, you’ll learn more about me, but since this is my first post—an introduction really—I think you can start to get a sense of who I am from the fact that I was disappointed at missing an opportunity to be lit on fire by a special effects guru.  It doesn’t completely sum me up, but, let’s be honest, does that seem like the sort of thing an Ashley would do?  After that, I started introducing myself as Mick in social situations.  It’s easier to remember in the event that someone decides to call on me to be sawed in half or something.

Here are some other things that you might want to know: I grew up in Arkansas and went to college in Fayetteville.  I went on to more school in Florida, and I was a Seminole for those who care about that sort of thing.  I am not really one of those people.  I spent some time in Texas where I had wonderful friends but no job.  Eventually, I made my way back to Arkansas.  So far in my life I have spent time working as a waitress, a Sno-Fun girl, a tutor, an English teacher and a camp counselor.  For a while, I graded standardized tests to pay the rent, and I spent an incredibly cold weekend in Austin working as an extra in a TV pilot earning slightly more than minimum wage.  I had a career at Old Navy that lasted a total of 3 hours.  I spent some time working with high school students preparing to be first generation college students, and I still check on them from time to time.  I am currently working in a library.

My friends call me Mick.  It’s nice to meet you.

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More by Ashley McKelvy

  • Can I have a Definition please?

    I meant to write this post days ago, but it's been one of those weeks where I just couldn't convince myself to do the things I should.  But I wanted to talk for just a minute about the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee that was on TV this week.  The first thing I want to say is that I am an abysmal speller (and don't think I didn't get a little help on the spelling of 'abysmal.')*  When I lived in Austin, I applied for some jobs with UT, and they required a spelling test.  I took the test twice and never scored high enough to apply for a secretarial position with the school.  So, I was never a viable spelling bee candidate.  But there's a documentary about students participating in the National Spelling Bee called Spellbound that I am in love with.  I'm actually watching it as I type this.
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    My parents called this morning and wanted to come up for a few hours to spend Memorial Day with me.  It was a nice surprise--although if I'd had a little more notice I would have vacuumed, but dirty carpet is what they get for giving me little advanced warning--because my parents are kind of awesome.Mom mentioned that they'd thought we might cook out, but since it was rainy and I don't own a grill, I didn't give much credence to that idea.  I was surprised, then, when my parents came up to my place carrying bags of groceries and a grill in a box.  A tiny grill.  One might even go so far as to call it cute, but the punishment for undermining the grill might mean one doesn't get to partake in the delicious charbroiled food cooked upon it.  So, I didn't call it cute.I let them in, and since it was close to lunchtime, Dad started prepping the food while Mom and I sat on the couch and got caught up on the latest news.  It took me a while to realize we weren't having hamburgers.  Or hot dogs.  We were having kabobs.Generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with kabobs, it's just that it wasn't what I was expecting.  He got this idea and wanted to try it out, and that's the sometimes weird but often wonderful thing about my dad.  He and my mother live in the small town where I grew up, and I sometimes used to joke that it was a town that almost forcibly resists culture.  But sometimes major trends and fads make it all the way to our little corner of the state, and people like my dad find out about them.  Five years after I tried my first mojito, he heard about the drink and decided he'd like to try one.  He grew his own mint for the mojitos, and the thing you should know is that my father is a much better gardener than he is a bartender.  We had an abundance of mint, and the result was that he became very generous with it in order to prevent waste.  The first time he handed me a glass, I stared at the veritable forest floating amidst the liquid ingredients."Next, time, I don't want a salad at the bottom of my drink," I teased him.When the mint started to overrun the place, he put it in the iced tea as well, and insisted on calling it "mohi-tea."  Because while he is often a really, truly funny man, my father sometimes cannot resist the siren call of a cheesy joke.I like the fact that my father is curious and willing to try new things.  Sure, I wasn't thrilled when he commandeered a bottle of my wine to try his hand at French cooking, and we have actually had an argument about what truly makes a sandwich a panini, but generally I think it's an admirable quality.  It's one that I think I've inherited in small ways--I prefer to sample pop culture more than food, but I can be persuaded to try a new drink now and again.  The kabobs were good, even the slices of grilled pineapple that I pooh-poohed early on turned out to be delicious, and I was glad Dad decided to try something different.  I did have hot dogs for dinner, though.  You know, just to be patriotic and all.
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