Do you see what I did there? Welcome to my life. Every single email I receive that is not from a blood relative or person I’ve gotten to at least third base with begins with your name.
Sure, it’s just one letter. One little consonant. ‘M’ and ‘N’ are even alphabet neighbors, you might say. They’re like Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor and that Wilson guy who couldn’t move beyond his fence, or show his face (probably due to an ankle monitoring device, or a chemical burn). To that I say, Au contraire, mon frere. While the letters occasionally work together to form essential words like damn and mnemonic, they are not interchangeable. If you try to put an ‘M’ where an ‘N’ should be on Wheel of Fortune, would Vanna White flash you her Vaseline grin and turn the tiles? No. That bitch would shut you down.
Anyway, if people got my name wrong because of simple consonant confusion, or perhaps a Singapore Sling-induced slur, I could handle it. But no, they get it wrong because of you. You, the only non-Indian person in the world named Uma. You, with the body of a supermodel.
Do you know that my freshman year of college, some guy wandered into my room after a keg party and called me your name, and when I pointed out his mistake and ushered him towards the door so that I could put my night guard back in and return to dozing off to my Garrison Keillor tapes, he tried to get me to make out with him by saying, “You’re prettier than Uma Thurman anyway.”
It was such an obvious lie that I burst out laughing. Anyway, my point is, you ruin my life on a regular basis.
I sat through The Truth About Cats & Dogs. What have you ever done for me?
The thing that bothers me the most is that Una is, objectively, far superior to Uma. If anything, people should be calling you by my name. Ever heard of Oona O’Neill, or Una Merkel, or the fairy from the kick-ass movie Legend, starring Tom Cruise, Tim Curry, and Sloane from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? Ever heard it used as an article in, um, every single romance language? Una means “one,” or “lamb,” or “unity.” Uma means “do not; flax or turmeric.” Oh, snaaaaaaaaaaaap! I win.
But seriously, Um--can I call you Um?--I know it’s not your fault. You don’t get to choose your name. I just got a little angry and overreacted. It’s your parents I blame. According to Wikipedia, your mother’s name is Nena von Schlebrügge, so clearly she has her own issues (after all, who would be able to stand living in the shadow of the 80s New Wave pop sensation who gave the world “99 Luftballons”?) Your dad, Robert, however, is the Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia, and if that doesn’t say wannabe Hindu hippie to you, then I don’t know what does. Look, my mom teaches childbirth classes, but she didn’t name me Placenta LaMarche. There’s work, and then there’s the name your kid has to live with for the rest of their life... or until they take you to court. Actually, come to think of it, I’d be grateful if you’d pass this letter along to your dad for me. I would have written it to him in the first place, but I really liked my “Dear Una” opening line, which wouldn’t have worked on him, unless maybe he was high, which, let’s face it, he probably is.
OK, Miss Mia Wallace, this has been real, but it's time I got back to trying to finding my old retainer and Lake Wobegon cassettes.
Remember not to flax or turmeric.