The questions have nearly stopped about Beck's name and where it came from (a list of baby names we liked) and if it's a family name. But periodically, I do still get asked and I think I may start lying. I mean, isn't it so much easier to say, "Yep, Beck is my Grandmother's maiden name," and I'd have all the little old ladies of the world nod their heads in agreement that that is a good reason to name a kid Beck?
I did this once in college, lied I mean. (OK, I lied more than once, but this is the story your getting at the moment.) My best friend Emma and I moved to off campus housing our third year of college. We were both 20, but most of the women in our ward were older. It seemed like every conversation in Relief Society* and at social functions began, "On my mission..." Emma and I grew weary of that, so we concocted a plan.
There was an upcoming social and we'd only know a fraction of the people there. Emma was fluent in Italian and French thanks to living in Italy for a year when her dad was on sabbatical from the BYU Chemistry Dept. Emma and I decided to say that we were returned missionaries. Emma eventually picked Italy, since she knew the mission that covered the area where she lived. Since I didn't know a foreign language, I decided to say I served in Denver, Colorado. My great-grandma lived in Loveland, so I knew parts of Colorado well enough to wing it. And off we went.
When Emma and I met people we'd introduce ourselves with our names, mission and major. Sometimes we'd just say, "On my mission..." to begin a conversation so we'd sound cool. Eventually, we met a guy who seemed really cool. "So where did you guys serve your missions?"
"Italy," Emma said. "Denver, Colorado," was my response.
"Seriously?" he said suddenly turning his attention to me. "Denver north or Denver south?"
"North," I said not missing a beat but beginning to panic. He clapped his hands in excitement. "I had friend who served there! Her name is .......... Do you know her?"
I pretended to search my memory. "No. I don't think I know her."
"When did you serve?" he said pressing me for more details. "You have to know her. If you just got back, then you were serving at the same time."
I racked my brain to come up with a plausible answer, but it took me too long and the pause was obvious. I don't remember if it was Emma or me who started laughing first. But one of us got the giggles and pretty soon we'd both burst out in hysterical laughter. The poor guy had no idea what was so funny.
With red faces, Emma and I admitted that we weren't returned missionaries. We were only 20, but we wanted to be "cool." He didn't think our faking was funny or cool. He thought it was stupid and juvenile. And now that we'd been "had" we couldn't pretend to be RM's** any more. But it was fun while it lasted.
(*Mormon 101: Relief Society is the women's organization of the LDS church. The third hour of church is the Relief Society meeting, where we are instructed spiritually. There are also quarterly enrichment activities as well as optional mid-week activities with different focuses if a person is interested.
**Mormon 101: RM is short for returned missionary.)