“Alexis,” “Alexia,” “Alyssa,” these are all names I have been called very often but none of them are my real name. My name is Alexa. Alexa is a feminine form of Alexander which means “defender of men.” My mother chose the name because my father kept disagreeing with the other names she wanted to call me like “Abigail” or “Erina.” Finally, Alexa appeased both parties, so that’s what went on that birth certificate on August 14th, 2000, “Alexa Danielle.” When my parents gave me this name, I don’t think they knew about a robot from the future or a song from the past that would eventually share the name of their daughter.
As a young child, my name never bothered me much but as I got older and started school, it started to become a nuisance. It seemed that nobody could get my name right, like I was constantly correcting people on my name. I had to correct an office lady at my old school, every time I saw her for nine years because she constantly called me Alexis. Whenever someone got my name wrong, I would let out a deep, tired sigh and say “I’m not Alexis, I’m Alexa.”
Now, in my teen years, my name has found new ways to harass me. A new device called an Amazon Echo has bloomed in popularity much to chagrin, the reason being that the device’s new AI and digital helper’s name also happens to be Alexa. For the last few months, I have been the brunt of too many unoriginal jokes, all because of this little device. Almost everyday I get at least one “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” or “Alexa, play Spotify.”
My name is not only a device, but a boat too. The cherry on top of my name is that the only song with my name in it is, “Downeaster Alexa.” While it is a song by one of the greatest songwriters of all time, Billy Joel, “Downeaster Alexa” embodies the story of an impoverished fisherman and his boat named Alexa. While other girls get so many of those fervent and sweet love songs, the Alexa’s of the world get only one depressing song about a crusty fishing boat. Michelles are belles and Janes are sweet but Alexas are boats.
“Alexis,” “Alexia,” “Alyssa,” these are all names I am called very often but I don’t seem to hear them that much anymore. I used to wish that people would remember my name for once, but now I wish that they’d rather forget it sometimes. My name is no longer confused for another, but instead it calls to mind robots and fishing boats, far from the romantic image I wish it would conjure. I suppose I have to get used to that five-letter word that goes on my birth certificate, after all, I’ll be stuck with it for while.