Proud To Be a Wiener

at 12:35 AM

I remember the first time it happened. We were at Baskin Robbins, placing an order for a cake, and my mom gave her last name as Wisner. I stared at her, confused. Wisner is a fine name. It just doesn't happen to be ours.

My last name is Wiener -- synonyms of which have been much punned about since Representative Anthony Weiner got caught tweeting with his pants down. Perhaps I'm biased, but I suspect much of this story's sensation has been due, not to Weiner's inappropriate actions, but to his last name.

As Weinergate finally draws to a close, I'd like to tell you how I came to feel proud of my name. It wasn't always so.

At Bullis Elementary in Los Altos, my classmates seized upon my name's phallic meaning. They laughed, they taunted, they rhymed it with neener, neener, neener. My dad suggested telling them Oscar Meyer was my grandfather. The tactic failed.

Substitute teachers tried calling me "Whiner" -- as if that could protect me.

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By sixth grade, I toughened up. Figuring the best defense is a good offense, I told other kids about my great uncle Harry. Yes, Harry.

Senior year at Los Altos High, I had a newspaper column in which the title each issue was some synonym for my name. Hot Dog. Sausage. And...well...yeah.

My mom feels differently. She's tired of random people asking her relationship to the congressman -- or in her words -- "this young boy that has an obsession with something he shouldn't have an obsession with. I don't want to discuss it with my golf pro," she says.

Other Wieners worry that Weinergate is sullying the reputation of our kind.  But, I didn't suffer through elementary school to give up on Wienerhood now.

When I got married two years ago, and had the opportunity to unload this burden, to slip quietly into the anonymity of Evans, I didn't.  Like a scar, like a medal, I've earned this name.

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With a Perspective, I'm Jocelyn Wiener. And proud of it.

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