News and Tribune


November 8, 2012

HARBESON: Play the name game

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Let’s face it. Even if you feel like there is a candidate worth voting for, the final week leading up to a presidential election is annoying. Newspapers, electronic media, direct mail, phone calls and yard signs blast political messages constantly. The only way to even come close to avoiding the bombardment is to leave the country — which is exactly what I did this year.

It was an excellent plan. I thoroughly enjoyed not having to hear the politician’s distortions, outright lies and promises that can’t possibly be kept. Once we were out of the country, the air was clear, crisp and almost devoid of election pollution. I could finally take deep breaths without gagging and my sinuses even cleared up.

The trip wasn’t all fun and games though. I did have a particularly serious family issue to think about while on this trip. Apparently, I am going to be a grandma, whether I want to or not. Don’t get me wrong, I want my daughter and son-in-law to have a baby, really I do. I am very excited and happy about it. I just don’t want to be a grandma.

Well, to be more precise, it’s not that I don’t want to be a grandma. I do. It’s just that I don’t want to be called by that name. I’m sorry but no matter how much I think about it, the name just doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Instead, every time I say the word, another joint starts aching, cracking and popping.

There are those who say I can’t control this anyway and the kid will figure out for him or herself what he or she will call me. But I’m telling you now if the kid tries to call me grandma, I’m just not going to answer.

Yes, I realize that might backfire because he or she will just assume I’ve lost my hearing but I don’t care. I’m going to do it anyway. Maybe I can’t control getting older but by golly, I will have some control over my name.

Yeah, yeah I know what you’re thinking. I’ve heard it before — you think that when the little tyke begins to talk, I just won’t care anymore. But you’re wrong. Despite Shakespeare’s beautiful poetic prose about the sweetness of that rose, grandma as a name simply stinks as far as I’m concerned.

Look, I don’t mean to insult those of you who really like to be called grandma. If you love it, that’s great, grandma.

When my daughter, son-in-law and husband realized how strongly I felt about this, they started throwing out lots of alternative suggestions, all of which I rejected because they were just more euphemisms which said to me, “Look old lady, you are a grandma so just shut up and deal with it.”

So after they finished with their barrage of mi-mi’s, gi-gi’s and lady ga-ga’s, I said, “Can’t the kid just call me Debbie?”

In reply my daughter said, “Well, why don’t you poll the readers of your column and see what they think?”

What a great idea, an actual poll about something important for a change!

So, what do you think? Shall the name Debbie be retained by, well, Debbie to be used even by her grandchildr ... I mean, her children’s children?

If you do not think they should call me Debbie then feel free to offer alternative write-in candidates. Send your vote to the email listed below.

Oh and maybe it goes without saying but any write-ins for “grandma” will be thrown out immediately so don’t even try to stuff the ballot box. However, I will not be checking IDs so go ahead and vote as many times as you like.

— Clark County resident Debbie Harbeson is now accepting all votes and suggestions for alternatives to the name grandma at

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