Quietly, over the weekend, Slate’s advice columnist Prudence answered a question from Torn Apart, a writer who was in a real wreck. The article is titled “Help! My Fiancee Is Related to a Notorious Criminal, and She’s Extremely Sensitive About It,” which basically covers it, but a lot more happens.
The broad strokes are these:
- Torn Apart is engaged to “Adele,” who “happens to be related to a notorious but long-dead criminal.” The last name is recognizable enough that she’s been teased about it all her life.
- At a get-to-know-you barbecue between Torn Apart’s family and Adele’s family, the writer’s 15-year-old-cousin “Kim” help up a picture of the criminal on her phone and “made a terrible joke, despite [his] whole family having been warned to mention him.”
- Adele threw a “small rock” at the 15-year-old, even though she assumed Kim was much older “reasonably, due to her clothing and appearance.”
- Adele was charged with aggravated battery plus aggravated child abuse, but the charges will be dropped if she apologizes and pays for the medical and cosmetic treatment to repair Kim’s eye, the injury of which “might prevent her from becoming a pilot, which she’d expressed only casual interest in before.”
- Kim and her parents have insinuated that Adele is violent due to her “blood.”
Torn Apart’s family has since been disinvited from the wedding, and I’m not even sure what Prudie is suggesting — it doesn’t even matter. Assuming this is a real story and not a long-con creative writing exercise, I only have one question.
WHAT is Adele’s last name?
The criminal in question is long dead, but notorious enough that a 15-year-old would know enough about him to make a joke, despite of course dressing and looking older than her age.
“Adele Capone” seems too on the nose.
“Adele the Birdman of Alcatraz” seems unlikely as does “Adele the Zodiac Killer” or “Adele the Ripper.”
“Adele Wayne Gacy” might work, but I wouldn’t think that Adele would use the middle name if she were trying to distance herself from the clown killer. Same goes for “Adele Wilkes Booth,” though that is a beautiful name for a baby girl.
“Adele Hitler” is unlikely, as I think the old cyanide in the bunker trick snuffed out that surname.
A 15-year-old might be a murderino, and as such might know of “Jeffrey Dahmer” or “Ted Bundy,” but “Adele Dahmer” or “Adele Bundy” don’t strike me as recognizable enough names to remark upon.
“Adele bin Laden” might work, though. He’s been dead 11 years, and there are of course generations of prominent bin Ladens out there living their lives as upright citizens. The next most likely would be “Adele Castro,” another pseudonym that might be a wink from Torn Apart (Adele/Fidel, you get it).
What do you think Adele’s last name is?