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Monday, September 15, 2014


Here’s a column from the old days. I’m not sure where else it has appeared, except it was on the critically profaned, Headley and the Rug (and Cral.)

I've known Melissas all my life. There were Melissas older than me when I was little. I went to grade school, high school and college with Melissas but after college something changed.
Since 1980, I haven't met a Melissa my own age.
It's not that I haven't continued to meet Melissas. I meet them all the time. Someone's daughter is named Melissa, the girl at the cash register has a name tag that says "Melissa." The world is full of Melissas… and not a single one over twenty.
Something is going on here. If this doesn't surprise you, then obviously you're in on the conspiracy. I hope you enjoy how this is affecting me.

Oh sure, I hear about Melissas over twenty. Melissa Joan Hart, Melissa Sue Gilbert. Maybe, it’s the “Joan” and the “Sue” that keeps them around. Has either one of them worked since they were twenty? While I’m at it, other than maybe an appearance on Conan O’Brien, what evidence do I have that they’re still around? Do I ever meet Melissa Joan Hart? Maybe Melissa Joan Hart is a completely computer generated image, or perhaps a “Marianne”, digitally altered to be "Melissa."
No, something is going on here.
I don't want to think the worst - mainly because I can't figure out what the worst could be. Is there some psychic connection between the name 'Melissa" and a twenty year time delayed loss of memory? Are the thousands of Jane Does out there, in actuality, displaced and psychically victimized Melissas?
Are all Melissas of an alien species that has perfected human development through the post adolescent stage that must then recall their agents before they revert to their natural form (a combination of say… an otter and Ed Asner)?

Is there some mad pre-list enumerator in the census department who forcibly changes Melisssas into Mildreds, Mabels, and Marlenes (who you never meet younger than twenty) under the threat of … severe under-counting? Would the prospect of her state losing a congressional seat to West Virginia (a state with no actual people living in it) move a Melissa to change her name?
But no! the effect is even more pervasive! I've always known Melissas. I can't think of any time in my life that I didn't know at least one or two. It would be a simple thing for me to go on the net and look up a few of them. Find them, email them, convince them there's no need to file a restraining order and assure myself that they are OK.
But I can't think of a single last name. I check my yearbooks - they seem to be missing.
Something is definitely going on here.
It makes me sad to admit it, but I fear there’s nothing to be done for the Melissas of the past. Gone is the Melissa who used to date Jim in college. Gone also is the Melissa who spilled Elmer’s all over my Batman lunchbox in second grade (maybe I don’t miss her that much) but perhaps we can save the MNYTs (Melissa’s not yet twenty).

Lo-jack has been very effective in recovering lost and stolen cars. I have no idea what a lo-jack looks like (maybe it’s quite fashionable) or how it’s installed (best not to dwell on that too much). Certainly, aliens would know how to disable lojack and besides, once you start with optional equipment in innocent human beings, the next thing you know we’ll be installing multiple CD changers and things just get too involved.

In the wild, forest rangers track the movement of bears by attaching a tracer to them with some sort of pop-rivet device. Some Melissas may be willing. Piercing is quite popular but how do we protect our more timid MNYTs?
I called my representatives, the Democrat suggested a new entitlement program; the Republican assured me a tax cut would do the trick. I have to admit; I don’t have much hope. As we’ve learned with terrorists and tele-marketers, it’s pretty hard to stop a determined conspiracy.
Perhaps it’s best to settle for a Melissa ID card for them to carry. “Hello, my name is Melissa, if I’m calling myself Mabel or Jane Doe, please contact the NMTB (National Melissa Tracking Bureau) and please don’t say a word to any aliens or census takers you might see nearby.”

Speaking of conspiracy - did you know that The Princess Bride wasn't supposed to be a comedy at all?