Tuesday, May 18, 2010

So where did that name, Moe, come from anyway?

When I started reading and posting on other people's blogs in the early 2000's, the sites were mainly political in nature.  Because of my work with a state government agency, I didn't want to post under my real name as I thought that I might get into trouble and be accused of abusing my position, which is, in fact, non partisan.

So I turned to using a pseudonym, which has been an acceptable way to talk politics throughout our country's history.  I chose a name that was not immediately identifiable as female, because I'd found that women writing on political sites were taken less seriously than men and were subject to far more ridicule and abuse.  And the Moe moniker was an homage to two things, one of which is readily apparent from the picture above, i.e. Moe Howard of the Three Stooges, a childhood love of mine.  The second was the  "Just Say Moe" slogan, which was popular in th early '80's and was a satiric take on Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign on drugs.  I was convinced at the time, and I think the facts bear me out that "Just Say No" was a horrible, depressing failure in the war on drugs.  But what I also took from it was something from my teenage years.

I grew up the oldest of five children.  My parents were strict disciplinarians, and used physical punishment where they saw fit.  That's the way it was, and I didn't know anything different.  It wasn't used often, but it was there.  And it worked.  I remember my parents getting compliments from other adults when we went out to dinner for how well behaved we were.  And we were always found sitting quietly in a church pew on Sundays at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church with them.  So when I started high school and began dating, I was told by my parents that if I was asked to a school sanctioned dance by a boy and I turned the fellow down, then I could not go to the dance with any other boy.  It seems that my father had experienced a number of upsetting turn downs from women in his high school years and he was bound and determined that his daughter not do that to any poor fellow.  So there was nothing like, "Just say no," in my dating world.

What that meant was that I had to be very sneaky and underhanded about the time Homecoming or the May Dance or prom came up because I knew that I had only one chance to be asked by a guy that I wanted to go to the dance with.  It became a huge orchestrated event, with my girlfriends talking to the male friends of the guy I wanted to ask me out, to make sure that there was interest there.  If not, we moved on to another acceptable candidate.  I just could not be asked by someone I didn't want to go out with, because then my chances of going were ruined.  You might wonder how it could be that my parents might have any inkling about who asked me in the first place.  You forget that my father was a pediatrician in Defiance and saw a large percentage of my classmates and their parents as part of his practice.  Plus, Dad was on the School Board.  So it really felt like anything I did or did not do would be found our eventually. 

There was the time I was seen talking to one of the DHS cheerleaders at the Skylark Club.  The Skylark Club was Defiance's teen hangout and it was open Friday and Saturday nights for dancing to records and playing pool and hanging out.  This cheerleader had been drinking and it was obvious.  Next day, the rumor was all over Defiance that I had been drinking too because I had been spotted with her.  Luckily  when I had returned home from the Skylark the previous evening, my father had still been up,  reading, which was something he liked to do, and was usually where I could talk to him by myself.  I had in fact taken advantage of his being there and stopped in to chat with him.  Thus, he knew from our discussion that I was not drunk, nor had I been drinking.  So I weathered that storm but it was yet another indication that my actions were under a microscope.  So I simply became adept at playing the dating game and getting the right guy to ask me to the next dance.  When I discovered that I could in fact say "No" without fear of retribution, it was rather a revelation.  But that  took a while.

So there you have the story behind the nick name. 

One ps.  I did have one time where I was trapped by the parental system.  I  had been talking to a senior, Kirk Schierman (pronounced 'Charmin') after lunch in the hall, spring of my freshman year.  There was no ulterior motive on my part, we had just been thrown together by happenstance and had a nice chat.  Kirk came up to me the next day, and asked me to go to prom with him.  I was a freshman and rather flattered that he had asked, and thinking it through figured that I couldn't go otherwise, so said "yes."  [If you are reading this, Kirk, I'm sorry, I was just a shallow freshman!]  The evening rolled around, Kirk came to the door, met my parents, and then we were out the door walking to the car, when my 4 younger siblings all darted out to the front lawn and shouted as loud as they could:  "Don't squeeze the Charmin!"  That was a punch line to a Mr. Whipple tv ad for bathroom tissue from the time.  Can't really blame my brothers and sisters now, but as I recall, after a post dance meal at Frisch's Big Boy I was escorted back home by 11pm.  Poor Kirk.  I hope things turned out better for him later on.

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