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Presenting Paprika

Shakespeare had it right when he asked, “What’s in a name?” Such a simple question with such a complicated answer because so much of your identity is tied to your name. Trying to choose a new name for myself as an adult has been a more daunting task than I had imagined. As a child, I had no trouble picking a new name and pretending to be someone else while playing. In high school, I had to choose a new identity in my foreign language classes. Since those names had to be Spanish and German it narrowed the field and made for a much faster selection process.  It was fun to be someone else for 84 minutes every day, but after back to back foreign language classes, I had a daily identity crisis. My next identity crisis came this past winter when friends were trying to coax me to sign up for Facebook. I know I am behind the times not having a Facebook page, but I can barely stand the minutiae of my own life and wouldn’t be able to tolerate reading about someone else’s. Then there is the fact that I don’t want everyone I have ever met to come knocking on my virtual door. For this last reason, my persistent friends suggested using an alias which would only be shared with a select few. Once again, I found myself in the position of trying to find a new name.

Several evenings were spent combing through websites listing  girls’ names that could potentially be my online identity. By the time I got to the C’s I knew I was in trouble. How could I pick a new name for myself? The possibilities were limitless and the prospect of reinventing myself should have been freeing; yet, somehow, it wasn’t. Each name I considered carried with it some preconceived notion or image and none of those seemed to fit. It was like being in the world’s biggest shoe store with every shoe at my disposal and not liking a single one. Convinced that my new name was somewhere on that list I continued through the alphabet.  The further I got, the more I realized that I really do like my given name and it suits me. While that was a lovely moment of self actualization, it didn’t solve the problem of finding my online persona. In the end, I resolved that I was happy being me and chose to live vicariously through my husband’s Facebook page.

Recently, I decided to start blogging. I want to keep my professional name separate from my blogging which puts me back in the market for a new name. The search began again, but this time I took a different approach using plays on synonyms for pseudonym. Names like Naomi DePlume and Sue Dunnim made the short list, but ultimately just weren’t me. One night, I was sharing this existential conundrum with my husband who responded without a moment’s hesitation, “How about Paprika Furstenburg?”

Stunned at hearing such a ridiculous sounding name, I turned to him and said, “Who’s that? Some stripper you met in college?”

“No, she’s not a stripper. I made it up,” he said plainly.

“You just made it up now or have you been holding on to that name waiting for the right occasion to use it?” I asked.

“I just made it up sitting here. And, that’s Furstenburg with a u,” he said for clarification.

“Of course it is.” I replied. “You’ve even considered the spelling. Seriously, how did you come up with a name like that off the top of your head?” I persisted.

Finally, he confessed that he was thinking of the last name of an actor I like.

I thought about that for a moment and a name popped into my head. “Mark Feuerstein? You got Furstenburg, with a u, from Feuerstein?” I asked incredulously.

Surprised, my husband looked at me and said, “His name is Feuerstein? I thought it was Furstenburg.”

“Let’s leave the origin of the surname for a moment. Where did Paprika come from? Were you trolling in the spice rack earlier today? Is this what happens when I ask for help in the kitchen?” I asked, still intrigued at his creation of such an odd combination. 

“I was just trying to think of a name that sounded good with Furstenburg and Paprika worked. Plus, your hair is almost the color of paprika,” he said, trying to be charming.

Clearly, these questions were causing him to do some unanticipated deep analysis of his spur of the moment utterance. 

I couldn’t let this go, “Why Paprika? Why not rosemary, oregano or cumin?”  I mentally took inventory of my spice rack.

“Rosemary is already a girl’s name so that’s not very original. Oregano sounds like a boy and cumin is just awful as a name,” he said indignantly.

So, I’m ridiculous? He thinks I should be named after a Jewish spice and I’m the one who is ridiculous! Should I choose this quirky name? It’s certainly memorable, but is she really me? A few months have passed since that night and the short list of possible pseudonyms dwindled. After each contender was eventually scratched off the list, my mind returned to Paprika Furstenburg and how she came to be. The silliness of it makes me laugh.  As it turns out, what’s in a name is a spice and a mispronunciation of someone else’s last name, but somehow it fits me perfectly.

60 responses »

  1. OK, I’m hooked! I’ve read two of your posts now, plus this charming introduction to your blog name, and I want to read more. You have a lovely writing style that I am enjoying immensely!
    If I’m not mistaken, hubby ended up with the “boy” name 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your kind words and taking the time to explore Good Humored. I’m glad you found your way over here and decided to stick around.

      You’re right. My hubby is Oregano. The whole spice/food thing took on a life of its own. Friends and family who wind up in the blog can’t wait to get their “spice” name.

      Reply
  2. Hi,

    Just found your blog and wanted to know if you would be interested in providing a guest post on our retirement site retirementandgoodliving.com

    I think visitors to our site would enjoy your sense of humor 🙂

    Please send me an email if you are interested and I will forward additional info.

    Thanks,

    Simone

    Reply
  3. Hi! I am new to blogging. It is really hard to start in an unexplored like this one. I was looking for blogs to follow when i found yours. I like how you write and im greatful for the unsolicited tips i get from your writing style. Hope you dont mind! 🙂 I am writing about a dark topic which is murder and i find your humour challenging compared to my stark nature of writing. Keep up the good work. And the awesome name!
    Hope someone will stumble on my blog like I stumbled upon yours. Cheers! 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for wandering over to Good Humored. I’m glad you enjoyed it enough to click the follow button.

      If you are writing about a dark topic, I hope this blog will bring some happiness and laughter to your day.

      I was nervous when I first started blogging 2 years ago. Just keep writing and visiting other blogs and people will find their way to yours 🙂

      Reply
  4. I love your sense of humor and writing style so I nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award here: http://iseveryoneanidiotbutme.com/2013/07/30/im-a-winner/. Check out the post for details on the award!

    Reply
  5. Hi,
    Ronnie Hammer mentioned you today- we got together to blog chat– fun to meet bloggers in person. Love your blog name– it’s so fun.

    Reply
    • Nice to meet you. Ronnie is such a wonderful person. I’m glad we took the leap from cyberspace to reality and got to meet each other. It is great to get together and chat with other bloggers in person. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write a check to Ronnie for her commission. She gets a bonus for every new reader she sends my way 🙂

      Reply
  6. Stellar article! Bookmarked!

    Reply
  7. Hello!
    I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! You can check out the link at http://thewilyhound.com/2012/07/25/i-would-like-to-thank-the-academy/. Thanks for posting!
    -Chrissy

    Reply
  8. Hi Paprika! Your blog is very entertaining. It inspires me to inject humor into my posts, although I am not as gifted as you are.

    Thus, I have nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award: http://czechtheflip.com/2012/07/17/encouragement-from-a-very-inspiring-blogger/

    Reply
  9. I was within a gnat’s whisker of calling myself Coffy Carborundum. Paprika Furstenburg will give google a conniption or two! Love it 🙂

    Reply
    • Coffy Carborundum has a lovely alliterative quality to it and it is defintely memorable. People have actually searched google for Paprika Furstenburg and every possible spelling combination of that. At least I know someone’s looking for me.

      Reply
  10. Hi Paprika,

    Did you consider coriander? Also piquant, like paprika, but maybe not as fiery 😉 BTW, “Paprika” in German is the word for the vegetable (bell peppers, chili peppers, etc) as well as the spice.

    C(h)ordially,

    Chris

    Reply
    • Actually, coriander didn’t occur to us. Thanks for the suggestion though and the lesson in German. I’ve learned a lot about paprika since I adopted that name. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment 🙂

      Reply
  11. We have a gerbil named Paprika. I thought we were being original (she has red eyes). 🙂

    Reply
  12. This is the best ! I’m such a dork, I give everyone I write about aliases (cuz its fun & not everyone wnats to be blog subject matter) but I didn’t bother with my own name – duh.

    Reply
    • I really thought my readers, friends and family would think the spice/food alias would be goofy, but everyone seems to get a kick out of it. I have friends and family asking me if I will write about them and give them a spice name. Go figure 🙂

      Reply
  13. I “touched” you on my blog today….trying to get more people to be exposed to your sense of humor! Thanks for brightening my days.

    Reply
  14. *chuckling* Paprika since i’ve been reading your blog – ive been hearing tom hanks from bachelor party: and the lucky spice of the day is (rummaging thru the cabinet) PAPRIKA (cheers/falsetto) you’ve made me the luckiest spice in.the.world! love that movie!

    i got my name from a biker many years ago – he said he was crude rude and socially unattractive. sent me into gales of laughter and i told him im using that from now on!

    😉 Jenny

    Reply
    • I don’t remember Bachelor Party, but now you’ve got me curious and I’m going to have to Google that scene.

      I wondered how you became “Socially Unattractive”. Thanks for sharing your story, Jenny.

      Reply
  15. Ha Ha, You moved to Slow, You’ve Been Tagged!!! Courtesy of LaughingAtEverydayLife 😀

    http://tadams4u.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/tag-your-it-darn-it-i-knew-i-should-have-hid-better/

    Reply
  16. Paprika – I have nominated you for the HUG Award.

    For further information please refer to my nomination post (http://30yearsofgrowingpains.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/a-hug-to-cherish/) and the general information on the HUG Award here (http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/comment-page-1/#comment-484)

    Congratulations!

    Reply
  17. I’ve already forgotten how I found your blog, but I’ve enjoyed poking around a bit. I like the way you write, and the way you think. I followed your Gravatar from a comment you left on someone’s blog (sorry, can’t remember where) and thought I would mention that you might want to consider adding a link for your blog on your Gravatar profile.

    Thankfully, you mention on your Gravatar snippet that Good Humored is your first blog, so I googled Good Humored and eventually found my way to your blog, but then again, I’m a pretty good detective. Okay, maybe not so much, but either way, I did manage to follow the bread crumb trail to your little piece of real estate in the internets.

    To make it easier for others to find you, you could go to Gravatar, and click on My Account, which drops down a menu. Select “Edit My Profile” from the drop-down menu, which takes you to a Edit My Public Profile Page. From there, click on “Verified Services”, which opens a new page, where you can add the url for your Good Humored blog.

    That way, any time someone clicks on your Gravatar icon, it will take them to your profile, which will not only list your email address and show your icon, but now it will also show a link to your blog. Assuming you want new visitors, of course.

    Someone shared this tidbit with me, so I’m just returning the favor. Now if I can just figure out why my icon always shows up as a big blue box instead of as the yellow and orange tiger lily that is saved in my photos on Gravatar, I’d practically be a genius. But I’m not. Bye!

    Reply
    • Thank you for your determination in finding my blog. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed when you finally found it.

      I appreciate you taking the time to explain exactly how to add the link to my blog on my gravatar profile. I did my gravatar back in July and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing or how blogging worked. Frankly, I was happy that I managed to get the picture and my profile to work. I’m doing much better with the technology now, but it never occurred to me that people might find Good Humored through my gravatar. I’ve added it to my profile now. Thanks!

      Hope you’ll be back to read again soon 🙂

      Reply
      • I’m the opposite of a techie, (although I’ve improved through blogging). If I see someone click LIKE on a blog, sometimes I will click on their Gravatar button, just to see if they also keep a blog. Which is how I found you. When I hovered over your Gravatar icon and “Paprika Furstenburg” popped up, I knew I had to follow the trail.

        Glad you weren’t offended by my involuntarily spillage of information about how to add a blog link to your Gravatar profile. Someone found me by some interesting detective work, and then suggested that perhaps I might want to include a link to my blog on my Gravatar profile. I didn’t even know it was an option at the time.

        You can count on me being back to read again … I’ve already poked around and read a few here and there, and you’re really a good writer. Your sense of humor is reflected in your writing, and I love it when someone isn’t afraid to show their quirkiness or individuality. Paprika Furstenburg sounds like a good fit! 🙂

      • I appreciate you paying your tech knowledge forward. I’ll try to do the same if ever the opportunity presents itself. My philosophy is that you learn something new every day. Sometimes what I learn is “I’m not going to do that again.” Sometimes it’s helpful infomration, like you offered me today.

        I’m glad you think Paprika fits me. When I started blogging I thought the name was quirky, fun and a good fit. Now, I can’t imagine being anyone else.

  18. I wrote a short story once, and I found the best names seemed to always come when you weren’t looking. They’d come from other people (like your situation), or from simple sources of inspiration in everyday life.
    I look forward to more good humoured reads!

    Reply
    • I think you are right, Bee. I’ve learned that if I have to work that hard to come up with an idea, it can feel forced. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Hope you’ll visit again soon.

      Reply
  19. I really enjoyed reading this! *Sighs* I only wish I could entertain people with my writing with such mastery as you do! Any tips for an aspiring blogger?
    And I look forward to reading your blog! -Simran

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your generous compliment, Simran. I’m not sure I’m in any position to offer blogging advice since I’ve only been at this since June 2011. As for writing with humor, I just try to find the funny in everyday occurences. Usually things that would irritate me the most turn out to make for the funniest stories. I looked at your blog and enjoyed your writing. Your content is about much more serious matters than mine. For me, it’s really difficult to make a serious subject amusing. Just keep writing about whatever inspires you.

      Reply
  20. I have spent most of my working day reading your posts. Storytelling with humour is an art form of which you are the master. In blogging terms I am only 5 days old so it was great to read about your difficulty choosing a name and astonishment that anybody other than loved ones were reading.

    Reply
    • This is an immensely kind comment. I really appreciate your compliments about my writing and I’m glad that you enjoyed reading many of my posts. It was really a big leap for me to start blogging and the only way I could convince myself to start was to tell myself that it was just an experiment for the summer. The first time I started getting comments and likes from people who didn’t know me I was completely blown away (to be frank, I’m still surprised by it) The bloggers I have discovered and who have discovered me have been very supportive and encouraging. Good luck as you begin your blogging adventures. I hope you’ll be back to read more of my stories soon and I’ll check up and see how you are getting along.

      Reply
  21. Your pseudonym is inspired. Love it and your blog. In my dating days, when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to reveal my true identity, I used the name Ariane Siobhan. (“Ariane” comes from Audrey Hepburn’s character in “Love in the Afternoon.” “Siobhan” is Irish for Joan.)
    Look forward to reading more of your stories.

    Reply
    • Your pseudonym has a lovely ring to it. Excellent choice! I’m so glad you enjoyed the posts and are looking forward to more. I’ll try to make you laugh each time you visit Good Humored. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  22. haha, you have a good thing going here, Paprika. To think that you were almost Paprika Feuerstein. That doesn’t have the same ring at all. Sometimes it is good to forget the real thing.
    Your blog is funny-bone candy if there is such a thing. Guess there is, because I just mentioned it, even though I just made that up. Your site has been bookmarked your site and I look forward to laughing with you – never at – in future visits. Happy Blogging!

    Reply
    • Paprika Feuerstein doesn’t seem to have the same cachet as Paprika Furstenburg. LOVE your term funny-bone candy – what a wonderful compliment to receive. Thanks so much for bookmarking Good Humored. I look forward to serving up some more funny-bone candy. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Reply
  23. Glad to have come across your blog! Keep up the great work 🙂

    Reply
  24. Mazel tov on the Fresh Pressed! Your sense of humor is delightful and just what I need on this cold day! I remember very very vaguely an old commercial with a kid saying “Paprika? What kind of name is Paprika?” Like all the best commercials, I can only remember the partial dialogue and not the product at all.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for the wonderful compliments! I’m so glad you enjoyed the story. I’ve been Paprika for a little more than 6 months and she’s definitely becoming my alter ego. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

      Reply
  25. Congrats on being Fresh Pressed! Well deserved.

    Reply
  26. Hey Paprika! You won the Hanukkah Hooplah loot from your post on on my page. Please email me! weinberg.jennifer@gmail.com

    Reply
  27. He was my favorite dog of all! Still pondering the idea of getting a kitten…..just don’t know.

    Reply
  28. I love it! And three cheers for your husband thinking it up! As for the “stripper” part, it does sort of remind me of something that would come out of the fun “what is your stripper name?” game — you’ve probably heard of it. You take the name of your first pet + the name of the street you grew up on.

    I wonder if I should start going by Bandit Ravenwood?

    Reply
  29. Renee Weinreich

    “Paprika” – that name couldn’t be any more fitting for a clever chick like you!! Don’t you forget, even though we have somehow lost touch since our school days, I have known you since preschool at the Green Schoolhouse. I love how your husband helped you out of your quandry. I seriously thought that this name came straight out of your imagination and onto the screen. If you didn’t use a spice as a pseudonym, you could have made some feline reference, as we know how much you love your little kitties! (By the way, my precious Spike left us in January….) So congrats on your very cool blog! I knew that it would only be a matter of time, my long lost cousin!!

    Reply
    • Thanks, Renee, for taking the time to read and leave such a thoughtful comment. The name still makes me giggle when I say it and I think it suits my personality too – glad to know someone who has known me my whole life agrees!

      Reply
  30. I too operate under cover of a fictitious name…hugmamma. My daughter and I happened upon it together, when we were reminiscing about a sitcom she watched as a child. It featured a family of dinosaurs. In it the baby would always chant “Hugga the baby!” From that my username evolved. As an added stamp of approval, I felt it was a tribute to my late mother whom I use to call “mamma.”

    i think your choice is ultra cool… 🙂

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing the story of how you came to be Hugmamma. It’s a very sweet story and tribute to your mom. Thanks for finding Good Humored and taking the time to read and comment. Hope you’ll visit again soon.

      Reply
  31. Love it! Very interesting to think about. I wanted to change my name for many many years (I thought it was common and boring). Then one day my mum said, “If you really want to change your name, choose and new one and we’ll change it.” Of course after being given the choice I decided I didn’t want to change it after all. Paprika Furstenburg is awesome, glad you chose her. Or she chose you… 😉

    Cat

    Reply

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