Coming into adulthood during the Instagram era, I have suffered from not being able to properly filter a picture of my Starbucks spelled incorrectly for all of the world to point and not chuckle at while still commenting, “lol, hilarious!” For most of my life, I blamed my father for inheriting America’s third most common surname, Williams, which led to years of childhood troubles and bottled up hatred that I released by drowning it in an actual bottle. At night, I constantly wondered how the other side lived. Questions like, “What’s it like to write a capital T next to a lower case Z in a cursive signature?” or “How do these people avoid hand cramps while signing forms when their names are literally a sentence out of a complex physics textbook?” would keep me up at night. Unfortunately, I will never know the answers to these questions (unless I, of course, asked someone) because my parents decided to be incredibly lazy and name me Anna. However, I am proud to say I have overcome my insecurities, and now I realize that these struggles I’ve lived with only made me stronger. I was born with a generically boring name, and I am damn proud of it.
Kids will never make fun of your name.
Growing up, my neighbors down the street’s surname was Schankee. And yes, it was pronounced skanky. I didn’t really know them, but I guarantee junior high was a rough time for those two kids. The worst I ever got was in third grade when we learned about compound words and the boys tried to tear me down by convincing me that my last name was one: “Will-Yums.” Children can be cruel, so a simple name is the easiest way to avoid those terrible years of bullying. So parents, quit naming your child Angus or Wolfgang or Seaman–that’s just a fast pass to a life of depression and self-loathing.
No one of importance will ever find you.
You can easily make yourself anonymous on the Internet, and in this day in age, that is a beautiful thing. My mother’s probably going to read this and say, “ANNA WHAT ARE YOU DOING PUTTING YOUR FULL NAME OUT ON AOL?!” not only because she wants to protect my identity, but also because she believes that AOL is still a thing. One time she even asked me if you can Wi-Fi and Netflix at the same time. My mother has legitimate concerns because it’s no secret that employers, universities, and creepy Tinder stalkers turn straight to Google to learn more about their future investment. But, fear not Mom, because according to www.howmanyofme.com, there are approximately 3,973 other Anna Williamses in the United States alone, and I can hide my identity behind any of them. A common name grants you the caliber of safety Waldo experiences on that last page where every damn character just so happens to also be wearing a red pom pom hat and a striped sweater.
The supply of beach town novelty license plates is never low.
This is a BIG bonus to having a basic name. Good luck to Blue Ivy ever trying to find one of these guys when Mommy and Daddy take her to her first private resort in the islands. If I really wanted to, I could walk into any touristy, splatter-painted “Spring Break 2014!!” t-shirt selling, boardwalk-trash of a store and buy a plethora of different keychains that all have my name on it. I know I am fortunate, but this is a whole different level of #blessed.
As a survivor who lived the first portion of her life in a dark melancholy, I encourage you to enjoy the commonality of your name and take advantage of the fact that your awful credit could very easily get linked to another person’s social security number. Embrace the anonymity of the “about 131,000,000 results” your ex will be faced with when trying to hunt you down for some cyberspace baggage. While many are nervous about the dirt a future employer could potentially pull up, I laugh in their face and say, “Google me!” All you’re going to find is some hot Japanese anime character with an awesome set of knockers that would guarantee me a job offer at any workplace ever. Boom.