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Wilma? It's no longer funny

Published October 20, 2005

Just three days into the storm, Wilma Norton is already tired of people saying, "Gee, you're a hurricane," and "Can't you do something about your namesake?"

0ne of my newsroom colleagues was the first to mention it. The day the 2005 hurricane names were announced, he sent a computer message: "Hey, you could be a hurricane this year."

Yeah, right. As if we'd ever get to W.

But here we are, and can I just say, "Enough already"?

For weeks, people have been asking me about it. My response has been that I would love a collection of headlines like "Wilma threatens," "Wilma roars" and "Watch out for Wilma," as long as the storm didn't hurt anyone or anything.

I have my headlines. Now I want Hurricane Wilma and all the "witty" repartee to go away.

A few people have made me smile. A friend called Wednesday morning as Hurricane Wilma reached Category 5 status and, in his best Ronald Reagan voice, said, "So, I hear you've become something of a windbag."

I doubt every man named Charley or every woman named Jeanne endured this. But then there are a lot more of them than there are of us.

Put "Wilma" into the Social Security Administration's database of popular baby names from 1880 through 2004 and you find Wilma last made the top 1,000 in 1973 (No. 941). This is my mother's doing. She and my dad gave my sister and me old-fashioned names. Martha and Wilma. In the '60s when we were born, our friends were named Tammy, Debbie, Sherry, Beth. My mom thought they would outgrow those cute names. She wanted us to have names that would be as appropriate when we were 80 as when we were 8.

There was no way she could have predicted the longevity of The Flintstones, which premiered two years before I was born. Or that, when I was in college, drunks would call my dorm room in the middle of the night to scream Fred-like: "WILLLLL-MAAAAA." Or that, 40 years after my birth, young restaurant hostesses would look at me incredulously and say, "That's really your name?"

Or that the most powerful hurricane ever recorded would someday be called Wilma.

I can't be too hard on my mom. She's had her own adversity this hurricane season.

Her name's Rita.

[Last modified October 20, 2005, 01:18:04]

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