Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An Open Letter To Uma Thurman

Dear Una,

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.



  1. At least you don't share your name with a fat, pink video game character. Or a vacuum. I'm just sayin'.

  2. Well said Uma... I mean Una (just kidding!) You want to hear confusing - not only can my name be spelt, like, four different ways, it can also be a dudes name for crying out loud! Thanks Mum and Dad!

  3. I loved her in Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard

  4. I recently saw this movie (TiMER) where the main chacter's name was Oona. After being introduced, some fool said, "Oh, like Uma Thurman." I kid you not.

    Is it strange I thought of you? Probably. But, still. I did.

  5. Great letter, Luna.

  6. That movie Legend used to give me nightmares as a kid because the only thing that makes Tim Curry scarier to a 5-year-old is to dress him up like a devil.

    Hilarious letter.

  7. I'm named after a lip collagen filled character from The Young and the Restless. My mom named me Casey instead of Cassandra because she didn't want me to be called Cassie. Which of course happens anyway. And her name is Stacey, so of course I get called that too...along with Tracy and Lacey...

  8. Totally agree... Una is so much better than Uma.

  9. Uma, I really liked this post.

    But you give Thurman too much credit. Her body is not that good. And her acting is sub-par.

    Anyway, I hear changing your name is cheap and effective... I recommend changing it to "Optimus Prime."


  10. Oh no hang on... that's Una Stubbs - my bad

  11. I thought your name was sassy.

  12. Anonymous3:43 PM

    totally off topic comment:
    can you please, please change the wallpaper background again? it takes forever to load on smartphones etc, and i want to read your blog EVERYWHERE....
    maybe you can make a poll?
    or just do as i say? ;)
    thanks for reading!

  13. You should probably secure good legal representation and SUE her.

  14. Marisa4:02 PM

    I would love to write a similar letter to Marisa Tomei. Her celebrity has (apparently) given everyone license to pronounce my name "Ma-RIH-suh", instead of "Ma-REE-sa". Come on - clearly two s's (Marissa) = "ih", one s = "ee". Thanks for teaching the masses that correct pronunciation is optional.

  15. LOL at Mareesa's comment...
    This was a great letter until I got to this line, "Je Tsongkhapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies", which I just skipped reading. Big words...too much trouble to figure out the pronunciation in my head.

    Compared to your name troubles, I'm almost glad people call me Whitney Houston. At least she can sing, right? Even if she is a crackhead...What's Uma got going for her?? Nada!

  16. I've been correcting people on the proper pronunciation of my name since I could speak.
    My last name is a first name and my first name has been mispronounced despite it's phonetic spelling.
    NAOMI long a-long o-short i.
    If you've heard it said other ways, they're wrong. I PROMISE.
    Niomi, Naima, Noemi All horrible variations of the bastardization of a pretty Hebrew name. I feel your pain and raise you the last name Alexis.

    "I know you asked for my last name first.I'm not retarded."

    Not that we're competing.

  17. Embrace your Gaelicity - name, eyebrows, sense of humor, and whatever else you got Gaelic going on there, which I'm sure is a lot.
    Forget the girls like Uma, boys don't really like her, they just think she'll put out.

  18. Do you agree that Garrison Keillor's show would be way better if he didn't try and sing?

  19. No. That bitch would shut you down.

    best. line. ever.

  20. If I know my Irish legends, Una was the beloved of Finn McCool. It's my own plan to have an Irish pub one day (God, I hope I'm not jinxing it) and call it Una's. THAT's how much I like the name you were given. My name means strange.

  21. Is Sydney, Una's is an institution yummmmmm. So I dig all things Una x

  22. i have experienced uma, her father, and her mother, all on separate occasions in public. these are the perks of working at a health food store in woodstock, ny. her father was sweet and becoming - her mother, mostly wretched and disdainful, and uma...boring and unattractive. so that guy was right ;)

  23. Really very well written this letter..Thanks for sharing!


  24. Sing it sister! My name is one letter away from Devin and I get called it repeatedly, even in emails where my name is clearly typed. The best was when someone on the phone called me Kevin. I mean, come on!


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