My name is Tiffany Lyn Lennon.

(I think I'd be a less bitter person overall if it weren't.)

My father wanted to name me Helga or Brunhilda or something equally bizarre. In the end he suggested Stephanie, and my mother threatened to "kick the living shit out of [him]" if that name ended up anywhere near my birth certificate.

Mom had other plans.

When Mom was a young girl living in rural New Jersey (back when there was such a thing), she had a habit of setting things on fire. She defends herself nowadays by maintaining that she never really wanted to see things burning...she just wanted to watch the fire trucks speeding toward the railroad tracks.

Usually she and her cousins would stick to small brushfires. Then, once they heard the sirens, they'd run home and watch the trucks from a safe distance. Harmless stuff. Things kids do all the time.

One sunny white-hot day, when mom was about eight, she and her cousins set a little fire as usual, and ran back to their designated hiding spot. Only this time, the trucks took a little longer to come. Oh, and it hadn't rained in several weeks...did I mention that? So there, before their delinquent little eyes, a brushfire of not-unconsiderable magnitude began to spread toward the ivy-covered factory on the other side of the field.

And the fire kept on spreading, much to their dismay. The trucks came eventually, and by that time my mother's band of Merry Arsonists had fled back to the safety of their homes. The fire took with it about half of the factory building, which took quite a bit of time to rebuild. The young lawbreakers were never apprehended, and none of them ever told their parents.

Many years later, after most people had completely forgotten the incident and my mother had managed to marry a firefighter, good ol' Mommo found out she was pregnant with a girl (or a monkey, but that's another story). Her brief stint as an arsonist must have haunted her, as she adamantly demanded that I be named Tiffany. When pressed for a reason, she told my father (and anyone else who asked) that it was in honor of the street the two of them had lived on as children...Tiffany Boulevard.

Many years later, when I was old enough to question my ill-fated name, I suspected my mother was not giving me the whole story. I love my mother, but I know she's not a particularly sentimental woman. A STREET? I was named after a STREET? What the fuck?

Mom eventually caved. At the tender age of eight, when most children are off playing baseball and rollerskating, she was living the life of a hardened criminal. She relayed all the old stories of arson and firetrucks and cousins, conveniently while dad was elsewhere (He's a fire-freak. They train them that way...he can't help it). Nearly twenty years prior to my birth, my mother the arsonist had managed to completely ravage half the interior and most of the exterior of a Tiffany's Glass Company...a subsidiary of the real thing.

So that's where it came from. There you have it, kids. I'm named for the years of guilt and silence that came along with burning a building to the ground.

Yeah, now that you mention it, it is kinda fucked-up.

Mom has no regrets... she says at the very least, I'll have fun stories to tell my children. Right, mom. As long as I manage not to commit any high crimes, maybe I won't have to procreate to displace my guilt. So there.

I still don't like my name, but at least I got to tell you a vaguely amusing story. I'll call it even.

Get me the hell out of here.

When I was six, I got both of my front teeth removed during the same visit to the dentist's office. I punched him in the stomach when he tried to give me the needle full of anaesthetic.