I hate Facebook.  I say that a lot, either in my mind or to a friend who’s commiserating with me regarding that portal to darkness that I inexplicably continue to visit on a daily basis.  But that’s probably another post for another day.  Anyway, Sunday I didn’t hate Facebook.  Sunday was my birthday.

Thanks to Facebook, I was receiving notifications throughout the day that yet another handful of people had kindly taken ten seconds of their day to think of me and wish me well.  It was seeing how they might have personalized their greeting that was the most fun.

One of my college roommates:

Happy happy day, Larlo!  Can’t wait to see you soon!

She picked up that name from my AIM/ICQ handle circa 1999.  (Remember those?!  I miss that little incoming message giggle sound that ICQ made.) I was branded “Larlo” by my youngest sister many moons ago, since somehow that seemed to be easier to pronounce than “Lauren.”  It stuck.  Nicknames say, “We’ve got history.”

A co-worker from a school I used to work at:

Happy birthday, Lutz!

Like frat boys yelling across campus at one another, many of my teacher friends at that school just called me by my last name. No “Mrs.” to precede it.  Just “Lutz,” which rhymes with boots, in case you were wondering. There’s a certain energy and camaraderie to it that I find very endearing.  Teaching buddies can sometimes feel like fellow soldiers that are crawling around a bunker with you, so maybe it’s appropriate to bark at each other the way Sgt. Dan yells, “GUMP!”  Just-last-names says, “We’re in the trenches together.”

Other names I was given on my birthday: friend, lady, Lauren, niece, favorite music teacher (ahem, their only music teacher) — All these are signifiers of individual relationships that I’ve built, and what a lovely thing to be reminded of on a day that inevitably leaves me pondering what I’ve been doing for the past 31 years.

What do the names you own tell you about yourself?