Whatever you call me, just look out for the fangs!

If I had been born to celebrity parents I quite possibly could be going through life as Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches or Pixie (Bob Geldorf’s children), or Moxie Crimefighter and Zolten, courtesy of Penn Jillette.

Most of my friends call me Debra, but my family and the  friends that go all the way back to my childhood default to calling me Debbie. I value the familiarity more than a change in name, but I don’t feel like a Debbie. It would be very difficult to explain what that means. I think it’s simply that I’ve enjoyed multiple metamorphoses through the years. I shift and change positions and perspectives, rework the areas in my life that aren’t satisfying and come out the other side feeling that the changes were significant. It’s hard for me to relate to the same name that worked when I was a little girl.  It might also be that I have a strong rather unreasonable reaction to “Little Debbie” cakes and cookies. I think it’s the hat. I have my quirks!

In my teens I read Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel and unsuccessfully tried to reinvent myself. I thought I’d be much more interesting if called Rachel. I was indulged for a while and then even I couldn’t keep it up.

Then Tropical Storm Debby caught my ear this weekend. I heard Governor Rick Scott urge Floridians to be “very, very, very cautious,” and not to assume Debby wouldn’t escalate into a bigger storm. My first thought was that “Debby” didn’t sound very menacing! Wouldn’t  Tropical Storm Debra signal a more foreboding potential escalation to hurricane? I like to think so anyway.

How do you like this nickname? Debra the Deadly Cobra. Yes. Hardly fits the author of a blog entitled breathelighter, does it? My adoring children gave me that title! I think we must have watched the 1988 movie Big Business together.  This very funny comedy starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin (each playing two roles) was a film farce thinly based on Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors.

Lily Tomlin, as country Rose, holds her fingers up like fangs and hisses like a Rattler while shaking her bracelets for sound emphasis.  She is hilarious in this role and I started imitating her rattlesnake moves when anyone crossed me. Thanks to my children, Debra the Deadly Cobra was born. And I’m admitting that I’m currently having a hard time keeping my fangs in check! The bracelet rattling has already started.

Nothing ignites my ire nearly as much as trying to work through a problem (like my current Spam issue) and being told that what I’m experiencing isn’t really happening! It’s awfully hard to prove a problem if someone on the other end doesn’t believe it’s possible. I’ve been working with both WordPress and Akismet reps and the first few go-rounds in describing my problem have been quite frustrating. I’ve filled out forms only to be told again, “You have to fill out the form or we can’t help you.” I don’t think they’re particularly appreciating my sarcasm wit and clever sense of humor. If I’m told again to give them an example of the problem and to fill out another form there is no guarantee that Debra the Deadly Cobra won’t strike.

I’m breathing deep and keeping my thoughts even and in perspective. But I’ve got an itchy cobra reflex just trying to get out to play…for old time’s sake! Maybe I need to laugh again with Big Business and continue to release the tension resulting from the frustration of being labeled Spam. Do keep checking your Spam folders. I’ve released three other bloggers from my Spam folder just since Saturday. Cyber -gremlins?

If you want a quick chuckle, check out the YouTube video of Lily as country Rose. You may want to adopt a similar alter-ego. It can come in handy when you need to make a point! My bite isn’t all that venomous. I promise!

50 thoughts on “Whatever you call me, just look out for the fangs!

  1. Too funny! I could call you Debra if you like:) I found you were in my spam folder. Another blogger told me she got sent to spam “purgatory” because the total number of Categories and Tags combined to too high a number? With time and fewer tags.. she became “unspammed”.. I hope this helps!

    1. Unfortunately I have very little patience with poor communication! Guess how much time I waste being frustrated…lol! I have made a little progress today in my Spam craziness, and I’ll just assume that rattling my bracelets yesterday helped! 🙂 Any progress is positive. I have many funny stories with my name. If an old friend calls my office and someone else answers the phone they’ve been known to hear that “no one named Debbie works here.” Very funny stuff! Thanks for laughing with me, Smidge! I appreciate it.

    1. I hadn’t actually seen the bracelet rattling Lily Tomlin in a while, so I got a kick out of it, too. That was my signature move with my teenagers during that period…when they pushed my buttons I’d start those moves and we’d get a big laugh. My daughter reminded me of it the other day which is why it’s been on my mind recently! I’m in “negotiations” with Akismet…we may be making a little progress. My bracelet rattling may have worked! Ha! Thanks, Claire!

  2. Hisssss! Sorry you are still being put in the spam container, Debra. I have been getting your comments as usual, which makes me happy, but, I understand your frustration.

    That is such a funny scene. I’d forgotten the movie and now want to see it again. We all need a good laugh now and then, don’t we?

    1. I have had more friends tell me today that they’d like to see Big Business again! I’d forgotten it until Aimee reminded me of the “deadly Cobra” years! LOL! I’m still getting sent to some Spam, but as of today there is some positive movement. Apparently rattling my bracelets was at least not time wasted! 🙂 I’m not alone…so I’m not taking it too personally. It’s just one of those things! Thanks, Penny!

  3. Sorry, Debra, to hear that there’s been no answer to your WP problems. See? Maybe if you had stuck with “Rachel”, none of this would be happening. I’ve never heard of a Rachel having to endure this type of problem. Just sayin’ … 🙂

    1. Now I’m working with Akismet…I think there’s a little progress with the exception of anyone with Gmail…I’m not going to try to understand it! LOL! The best thing about “Rachel” is that my niece was named Rachel twenty years after I’d hoped for the name! I have never reminded my brother of my teenage Rachel days. He obviously didn’t remember and somehow I just don’t think he’d be thrilled to know that I had the name first! LOL! I’ve kept it to myself…well, I’ve now shared it rather broadly, but he doesn’t read this. I’m safe! 🙂

  4. Oh my! I think I need more bracelets! I had a problem with WP about 6 months ago and had a hard time getting a response from them but it finally worked out. Hopefully yours will too.

    1. I’m working with Akismet now, Kate, so we’ll see where it goes! I had forgotten all about my “cobra” days and Lily Tomlin and her bracelets, but my daughter reminded me recently and I’ve brought back the rattling! It comes in handy sometimes. I recommend it! 🙂 Thanks for joining in, Kate!

    1. Technical glitches and silence on the other end of a question…both frustrating. But my bracelet rattling helped a bit yesterday, Natalie. I had some movement today…perhaps we’re getting closer to a resolve! 🙂 Thanks for checking in!

  5. Debra, I can imagine you rattling your cobra bracelets. I love Lily Tomlin. She is such a funny lady.

    I’ll keep checking my spam folder. I cannot believe you are still having this issue, and that nobody will help you. If WP wants people to blog so they can make money from their efforts via advertising, they ought to be more motivated to care.

    1. I’ve moved up to Akismet, Andra, and things are slowly improving. Lots of problems! I think Spam is a big problem and the spammers work faster than the technical assistants can defend against it. In the meantime, I’ll keep practicing my bracelet rattling. It is a worthy substitute for language I would prefer not to use! 🙂

    1. I’ll just keep rattling my bracelets, Rita! Much less dangerous, and I get preoccupied in perfecting my technique! I haven’t spoken to anyone and it’s hard to express my frustration in an email…I can’t get the tone right! LOL! I would love to watch Big Business again! It’s been years! I’m glad I could send a chuckle your way! 🙂

  6. That video clip was so funny! I love Lily Tomlin’s cobra impression! I gotta get me a bracelet like that. 😀

    I know how frustrating it is to be told that what you’re experiencing isn’t happening. I’ve had a couple of doctors do that – needless to say, they’re no longer my doctors.

    1. I love Lily Tomlin! I think she is such a versatile performer. I think I must watch this movie again. It’s just so funny! I am really sorry to learn that you’ve had doctors who don’t listen and extend compassion. That’s just terrible! I presume it had something to do with “it’s all in your head” if they couldn’t give an answer for a symptom! I think that’s where I lose it…it’s very demeaning and I think it’s then that I think I must at least be more emphatic about my position. Sometimes that just starts a power war. At least I don’t think blogging/Spam is worth too much energy. Maybe just some good bracelet rattling! 🙂 Maybe we can all bring back the Lily Tomlin role and trot it out every now and then when we need to give a warning! Ha!

    1. I do love Lily Tomlin and just thinking about her in this particular role has made me laugh. I’m making some progress in the other areas…just slowly. I am not patient with poor or incomplete communication, but I also realize that we run into this kind of automated-response pseudo communication with almost everything we do, I’d better develop a longer fuse! In the meantime, I’m buying some noisy bracelets! I’ll rattle my way into a proper frame of mind! 🙂

  7. Dear Debra the Dancing Cobra (I’m making up my own name for you here) . . . I, too, have had this name thing shift a lot. As a young child I was Dodo. Then I was Dolores all through grade and high school, and when I did something of which my mother didn’t approve, I was Anna Dolores. In college my friends nicknamed Dee. In the convent I became Sister Innocence. When I left, I reverted to Dee but my brother still has trouble calling me that. I’ll always be Dolores to him and I like that because it’s the foundation for all the other names and he and I share the foundation provided by our parents.

    I do so hope that you can work out this spam thing with the powers that be. I seldom get angry but I’ve lost my cool with AT&T a number of times. They just can’t seem to believe they could be in the wrong!


    1. I think you’re saying much better what I was also trying to communicate, Dee. Names or nicknames often correspond to particular stages in our lives. Sometimes they fit us for a while and then no longer seem to be comfortable. I have made peace with the idea that I can be “Debra” in my own voice, and Debbie or Deb connecting familiarity and comfort with friends who prefer to think of me within the contexts where we were first friends. That’s not a bad thing! The Spam problem is small potatoes in the grand scheme of life. I think we’re getting through some of the largest issues and only a few pesky remnants are still holding on. I have had my laughs, my rants and my public critical observations…enough! I ordered your book the other day, Dee, and I’m waiting for it! I am really looking forward to it, Dee! I will let you know when I’ve had the chance to read it! 🙂 Thank you!

  8. You also could have been called Apple or Sparrow. I’m still checking my spam folder but you’re not there anymore. I love that movie Big Business. It was so well done. Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler were hilarious together xx

    1. Or how about Inspector Pilot? I think it might be spelled Inspektor. Poor darling children! I’m not sure what the longterm psychological impact will be from some of these names! 🙂 I do want to see Big Business again. Just seeing the clip had me remembering some funny scenes I haven’t seen since the movie was first released. As of today I think that most of my Spam issues are much less insistent. I’m primarily having trouble now with Gmail thinking the entire blog is Spam! LOL! I give up on that one! Thanks for checking, though, Charlie. I’m still finding other bloggers in my Spam…I think it’s a bigger problem as the real Spammers get more and more sophisticated! oxo Debra

  9. I’ve also played with various forms of my name but none are anywhere near as funny as yours – there isn’t even a Little Rosie Snack Cakes.
    Lilly Tomlin is brilliant and hilarious and it feels good to laugh with her.

    1. Don’t you wonder how it is people can give their children strange names? Look at the trouble I have with being consisten with an extremely traditional name! LOL! Little Rosie Snack Cakes…now you made ME laugh! So funny, Rosie. I love Lily Tomlin, too. I have imitated that silly snake rattling scene now for more than twenty years! It obviously made a very strong impression! Ha! Thanks for leaving your thoughts! 🙂 D

  10. Oh my gosh Debra! I had completely forgotten about this movie until today. My friend and I did a skit in high school for the speech team using a scene from the movie. I had totally forgotten about that until now. I got to play Bette. Oh how I loved that role! And I’m with you on the weirdness with being called certain names. Kristin is my given name, but I just don’t feel like a Kristin. Although apparently I did in third grade as my mom tells it, I was very insistent that the teacher refer to me as Kristin. LOL.

    1. Kristy you really made me laugh wondering which scene you and your friend performed in high school! There are so many of them in that movie that would be hilarious. I’m thinking of renting it again…it’s been years, but so many people have told me that they remember it well. I can hear that you do understand about how we feel suited (or not) to particular names. I think that your mom’s recollection that you did insist on Kristin when in third grade just stresses the point that our perspectives and comforts can change! I like the name Kristy! I do think it suits you. 🙂 D

    1. I found your blog through Frank, too, Suzanne! The two of you going back and forth with the squirrels just had me laughing…and curious! I hope you will stop by as often as you can. It’s so much fun getting to know other bloggers! D

  11. I’m not familiar with Little Debbie cakes and cookies but it’s funny what you say about the non-relatability of the name Debbie. My sister (Deb) feels the exact same way! Keep taming that itchy cobra reflex (hee.hee) with your humour! Looking forward to watching the clip of this movie from my pc tomorrow morning. Thanks for the smiles Debra :).

    1. Ah, you have a sister, Deb! Since I posted this the other day I’ve had friends now stumbling over my name! LOL! I didn’t want to create discomfort, but I guess even when I don’t intend it a little of that cobra action comes out, huh? I hope you took a minute to see the film clip, Kelly. It’s really funny! Thanks so much for stopping by! D

  12. Well now … Debra, Debbie, Debby …. ok … just Debra … but being the grocery shopper and one who liked Little Debbie treats during my youth (especially the chocolate rollups), I guess I’ll be thinking of you when I see the end-cap display. 🙂

    Meanwhile, I’m going backwards as I’m catching up from my busy stretch. 🙂

    FYI: You haven’t been in my spam since I caught it!

    1. Ha! I’m having trouble keeping up right now, too, Frank. I’m still having some Spam troubles and adding that into my busy schedule has at least slowed me! Ironically all my friends with gmail didn’t even get this post! LOL! It went directly into their Spam folders. So I think my complaints are upsetting the universe! I’d better cheer up and stop being so irritable. It’s not helping! I’m going to be spending the weekend with a group of women I’ve known since I was seven years old…a loooooong time! I will definitely be Debbie this weekend. Ha! D

  13. You were not in my spam box… and it does happen to us all at some point. Don’t worry. Akismet is the right contact not WP Support because their functions are for different matters.

  14. Little Debbie oatmeal pies are a weakness. Love those. Why in the world would word press not believe you. Maybe they just don’t know how to deal with a superb spammer. As long as we know it isn’t you sending stupid messages….who would believe that????? its ok. No fangs or bracelet ratteling needed. That is super funny. If I did that to my kids they would find me insane they are used to quietness. Maybe I should give that a go. 🙂

    1. The beauty of the fangs and bracelets is it’s more symbolic than loud! LOL! It’s funny how this little episode in our comedy library has endured this many years! Now it really is our family joke! I think I got caught with someone helping me who wasn’t reading what I was describing, so it just took awhile to make my case! I do tend to get annoyed when people assume I don’t know what I’m talking about…I may not, but don’t assume it. LOL! All is well now! Thanks, Terri! Debra

    1. Isn’t that Lily Tomlin clip just so funny! I think she’s so talented and we have had more fun through the years with that silly bracelet rattling…and sometimes I really do try to copy! That’s a way to get everyone’s attention! 🙂 D

  15. I am a big fan of Lily Tomlin. People I have met over the years have adapted or shortened my name in several ways. They are grouped some are from my childhood, some from school, work and family.

I always enjoy hearing from you!

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