The absolute and final word in driver’s licenses…

A week after I got married I took the real plunge.  I went to change my name.  Officially.  Legally.  I always thought that when it was time to change my name I would be thrilled.  I had lived with Barkoff for 28 years, and endured a childhood, and even sometimes adulthood, of mild teasing, and creative nicknames for the name Barkoff.  It was anywhere from your typical “Barky” (dance teacher in dance class for at least 8-9 years), “Barkoff” (never Sarah, just Barkoff all throughout high school), “Barks” (my academic advisor just this past year. <–No, I am not joking), and the latest “Beazle” (my mother-in-law coined the phrase, and now whole the fam calls me it, but that one I actually like.)  The point is, you would think I would be excited to get rid of Barkoff, and embrace my new last name, which was going to be Palma.  Palma is such an upgrade from Barkoff (Sorry Dad), right?!  Well, I was excited at the prospect of my new last name, but I knew it would feel weird to adjust to it.  Matt (husband) luckily was very understanding about it, and even told me I didn’t have to do change it right away.  However, when we went to deposit our checks from the wedding, we were told there were new restrictions since 9/11.  If our checks were written out to Matthew Palma and Sarah Palma, then they could only be deposited if Sarah Palma was the name on my account.  Therefore, I had to change my name legally to do so.  Changing my name on a new drivers license was the quickest and easiest way to do that, so off to the DMV we went.

By the time we got there I was ready to do it, but still a little nervous.  Right off the bat when we walked in I had to sign a little card that would be my signature on my new license with my new last name.  Wait, I never even practiced writing the “P” in Palma. Yes, I think I actually said something to that effect out loud, because the woman behind the desk looked at me like I was a total moron.  Oopsies.  Awkward.  I signed the dumb card, got my little number, and waited for my turn.

While filling out my paperwork, I got a rather brilliant idea!


I’ll give myself two middle names!  Freaking genius level! That way, I wouldn’t be completely parting with my former identity, I would just be parting with it halfsies. And halfsies I could toooootally live with.  Hooray.  So, it was settled.  My legal name would be Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff Palma.  No, not Barkoff-(slash) Palma.  Sarah Elizabeth Barkoff (def no slash) Palma, and Elizabeth Barkoff would be my new middle name.  Perf. My number flashed on the neon screen, and I was up.  I was still feeling very pleased with myself. In fact, so pleased that it gave me a little pep to my step as I approached the clerk. However, my pep was no sooner squashed.  As I approached the woman behind the desk, feeling ever so confident, I couldn’t help but notice that she was not smiling back at me.  I searched her face for a little smile?  No, not even a little smile.  Yep, we’ve got a full on scowling broad on our hands here. I began to feel self-conscious as she was reading over my paperwork.  I saw her eyes scan the part which I had previously been so triumphant about (genius idea of two middle names), and then go back.  Oh Lordy.  Please don’t go back.  Please don’t got back.  Yep, she going back.  Ugh.

“What’s this here Miss?”  She had a bit of Judge Judy (when she is on her period) type attitude going on.

Yeah, you know that look…

I tried to act really casual, “Yes, whats the problem?”  I even tried out a little perturbed-ness in my voice to scare her off.

She wasn’t amused.  Or scared.  At all. She rolled her eyes at me and said, “Right here Miss, whats this here, two middle names? Elizabeth Barkoff? What is that?”  By now she just hated me.

“Oh, I just thought that I could have two middles names, and it wouldn’t be a big deal. You know what I mean?” I searched my brain for further references to support my claim, then I actually said out loud, “You know, like Nicole Richie‘s kids, don’t they have about 10 middle names?” This followed by somewhat hysterical laughter, until it died down to a low-toned quiver. So awkward.  Okay, normally I wouldn’t be so moronic, but I got nervous.  And when I get nervous sh*t seems to spew out of my mouth profusely.

She just looked at me and said, “We don’t do that here in New York,” with a heavy emphasis on the NEW YORK. P.S. And with complete disdain.  P.P.S.  And with a huge evil smile on her face.

“Okay, well I just thought I’d try,” I tried to add as bubbly as possible, “I am just adjusting to having a new last name.”

“Well, you’ll get over it,” she said matter of factly as she sent me packing.

And that was it.  The final word in drivers licenses with a new last name.

What a betch.

Then, as I walked away I heard her turn to the guy in the next station and say (in between evil laughs of BWAHHHH-HAHAHA-BWAHHHHHHHH-HAHAHA (<—-Although I could have just been imagining that part), “Can you believe the winners we’ve had here today?!”  P.S. With a heavy emphasis and sarcastic tone on the word “winners.”

I walked out of the DMV with my new last name and without my pride.

But yes, I did get over it.

16 thoughts on “The absolute and final word in driver’s licenses…

  1. Your Blog is hilarious!! I loved it! It brings back memories of when I changed my last name from Pampalona to Barkoff 38 years ago!! I love the picture!! : )

  2. LOVED IT!! And I swear, no matter what city’s DVM you are dealing with, theie employees are the most UNFRIENDLY bunch of people! Great job, Sarahfina!! Keep them coming! Love you and Matt, too! xoxox

  3. hey Sarah- I can’t believe that! I changed my name and was able to keep 2 middle names (Elizabeth Kaley Schock Chase) but on my license it says Elizabeth K S Chase cause it is too long…but i did change my name with Social Security first…..anyways…you do get use to it, but even after a year it sounds strange to introduce myself as a Chase, so I know how you feel….enjoy blogging, you seem to have a knack for it 🙂

    • Beth, wanna know what is so funny? When I left the DMV and called my mom and dad with that story, the first people we thought of were you and Alison! My mom remembered that you guys both did that! Oh, I don’t know…maybe in New York it’s different, but yeah, I think I have gotten used to it now;)

  4. Sarah – love the blog and your story with your license, but you shouldn’t have a problem with your social security card and if you do, we definitely have connections!!! Alison got attitude from the post office when she applied for a passport before she got married with all 4 names. The lady had a fit, but the entire name did fit and still does when she got married with Margaret Donahue as middle names & Mineau as her last. I also think her license has her entire name, not just initials like Beth’s, but not sure. Trust me it will take time getting use to your new name. I didn’t get use to being called Mrs. Schock (that’s still my mother-in-law) until I started teaching. I actually did think of having students call me Mrs. Donahue Schock and still do sometimes!

    • Yeah, I haven’t actually changed my name on my social security yet, but I have heard from Matt’s sister that you can have two middle names on that. You know, I think the woman at the DMV could’ve probably let me do it, but she either just didn’t feel like it, or she didn’t like me! Haha!

  5. Hi, found your blog through Reagan’s and I have no idea how I found her! I so identify with this story and changing your name. I already go by my middle name, so I didn’t want to create madness and confusion by having two middle names, so sadly, I dropped my maiden name. It didn’t even occur to me that it was a real possibility. But I guess I lucked out because I had the nicest guy at the DMV ever who congratulated me about getting married and it made the whole experience of changing my name a little bit better. Still not used to the new last name and it’s been 9 months. I still think “who?” when people call me by my married name.

    • Thank you so much for reading! It’s funny what you said about thinking “who” when people call you by your married name, because recently people have started calling me Mrs. Palma and every time it happens, I turn around and look for my mother in law!

  6. Found your blog thru Reagans, don’t remember how I found her’s…..anyhoo…I live in Alabama and my DL has my full name: first, middle, maiden and married. You don”t drop your maiden,just add your new surname to the license. But, if you divorce & remarry, you can change that name, (not me, a friend). My maiden name is french and only 1 person has ever pronounced it correctly the first time. I was kindof looking forward to dropping it and using my husbands cute 3-letter surname. Did not happen, and I have to spell this 3-letter name ALL THE TIME!

  7. I am also in Alabama, and had gone by a shortened version of my middle name for my whole life. I was so looing forward to dropping my first name and never again having to explain that I go by my middle name. Unfortunately, when I got to the Social Security office to make the change, I was informed that you can only drop your first name by petitioning the court for a name change. I did that, had to go back to Social Security, and finally got my name like I wanted it (Shortened middle name, Maiden name, Married name). If you have a child, NEVER call them by their middle name, it is pure torture in the school years, and a pain with credit cards too.

    • That is so funny, Christie, because I was just talking to a friend who went by her middle name her whole life, and had almost the exact same issue that you had! She had to also jump through hoops to get her name the way she wanted it, too. Thanks for reading!!

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