ATUHOR'S NOSE: This chapter is very loosely based on a second chapter I wrote and then never published, back in 2003. I have significantly updated it, but the backbone of the concept remains intact. ... Just keep in mind that said backbone was created by a 13 year old in 2003.


Once upon a time there was a strudel named Ragu. As you have probably guessed, Ragu's parents were very strange.

Ragu went through life with very few friends, because schoolchildren are very mean to people they perceive as "weird", and Ragu's name was absolutely weird.

But Ragu had a feeling that there was something more to it than that...

One day, while browsing a popular content-aggregation web site, Ragu stumbled upon transition timelines.

Ragu sent a few of those to an online friend, a cookie by the name of Al, along with a message reading "Damn, that is an impressive change. I could pull that off if I wanted to."

And Al responded "Hey, this subplot wasn't in the original story!"

To which Ragu said "Listen, the author said she significantly updated it. The original story barely existed anyway, okay?"

And Al shrugged and decided that the story was probably better this way, even if it still was very silly and low-effort. "Anyway, that's a very interesting response to this timeline. It's not how I responded."

And Ragu was very confused by this. "What are you talking about? I am a very normal cisgender boy strudel. It is completely normal for boys to want to be girls because girls are just nicer and better. And also because their names don't suck."

Al thought about this for several moments. "No, I don't think that makes sense. I'm a boy and my name is fine. I'm pretty sure you just have weird parents. Also, I don't want to be a girl. That is an unusual feeling for a boy to have."

Ragu, certain that Al was wrong, called up every male friend Ragu had and asked them about this. Which was not very many, because as you'll recall, Ragu had very few friends.

Billy the doughnut said "Um, no, that's definitely not usual. I've got some resources -" click.

Tyrian the turnover said "I don't know what other boys think but I've never wanted to be a girl. Why - ?" click.

And Aiden the bear claw said "Ragu. My friend. You are literally describing the exact feeling that caused me to transition."

"Wait, you're trans?" Ragu asked.

"Yep," Aiden said, "I came out six months ago. Which I guess you wouldn't know about since you met me two months ago."

Ragu was very confused. "But I'm not allowed to be a girl."

"Who says?" Aiden asked.

Ragu said several fragments of words, trying to articulate an answer to that.

One month later, Ragu's family was having their weekly family meeting.

"Mom, Dad... I'm pretty sure I'm a girl."

Ragu's mom thought about this. "You're not going to change your name, though, right?"

"I am definitely going to change my name," Ragu said. "While figuring out this gender stuff, I realized that I would need to do that even if I wasn't a girl. Why did you name me after spaghetti sauce?"

Ragu's dad thought about this. For a very long pause. "You know, I don't remember. It seemed like a very good idea at the time."

Ragu sighed in annoyance. "Anyway, my name is Sally now."

Sally's mom nodded. "That's a good name, Sally."

"I agree, Sally," said Sally's dad.

"Thank you," Sally said. "Anyway, I need to go talk Al out of one of his fad diet ideas again."

And Sally lived happily ever after. And in this timeline, Al never went on that cake-only diet, and so also lived happily ever after.

Moral: If you are named after spaghetti sauce, it's okay to change your name. It's also okay to change your name for any other reason. Names are fake.