I never really felt like an “Ashley.” For a long time, the name seemed a bit too girly for my taste. It made me think of flowery duvets and things with ruffles, which just wasn’t me. In college, several of my guy friends pointed out that my first name is not exactly uncommon among strippers, and that, too, seemed like a bad fit. I needed a name that suited me. I am someone who wears Gin and Tonic perfume and once stole a book of Leonard Nimoy poetry, who loves Dorothy Parker and television shows on the radio and owns a pair of shoes my best friend calls “the flip-flops of death.”
I started going by my last name, which was fine except that sometimes people have trouble remembering it. One summer, I volunteered at a special effects film camp, and kids aged 7-9 called me everything from McKenzie to MacKelly. That didn’t bother me. Unfortunately, the guy who ran the camp couldn’t remember it either, although he refused to admit it. For two weeks he addressed me by nodding in my direction and saying “YOU.” As in, “I need YOU [exaggerated nod] to go help them get on the zip line.” That didn’t bother me either. What bothered me was that there was another volunteer that summer, Meg, and the instructor used her in the vast majority of his demonstrations. I suspected he called on her so often because he could remember her name—he called her “Magic Meg”—and as a result, it was Meg who got to fly, get shot at, and be set on fire.
That bothered me quite a bit.
I’ve graciously been allowed to blog here, and I plan to tell lots of stories. If you read them, you’ll learn more about me, but since this is my first post—an introduction really—I think you can start to get a sense of who I am from the fact that I was disappointed at missing an opportunity to be lit on fire by a special effects guru. It doesn’t completely sum me up, but, let’s be honest, does that seem like the sort of thing an Ashley would do? After that, I started introducing myself as Mick in social situations. It’s easier to remember in the event that someone decides to call on me to be sawed in half or something.
Here are some other things that you might want to know: I grew up in Arkansas and went to college in Fayetteville. I went on to more school in Florida, and I was a Seminole for those who care about that sort of thing. I am not really one of those people. I spent some time in Texas where I had wonderful friends but no job. Eventually, I made my way back to Arkansas. So far in my life I have spent time working as a waitress, a Sno-Fun girl, a tutor, an English teacher and a camp counselor. For a while, I graded standardized tests to pay the rent, and I spent an incredibly cold weekend in Austin working as an extra in a TV pilot earning slightly more than minimum wage. I had a career at Old Navy that lasted a total of 3 hours. I spent some time working with high school students preparing to be first generation college students, and I still check on them from time to time. I am currently working in a library.
My friends call me Mick. It’s nice to meet you.