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Lauren McClain


Lauren McClainShillelagh

“When I’m old, I want the shillelagh on my wall,” I informed my father.

The shillelagh is an ancient family heirloom brought over from Scotland and passed down through generations of McClains since time immemorial. It is essentially a war club, wooden and dark with age and the blood of Sassenach. I thought this piece of machinery was truly the height of coolness and often took it off the wall to wield in front of the mirror.

“No,” my father said. “It has to be passed through the male line. Jake will get it when I die.”

To my sister and me, this was about as unfair as it got in life. Jake didn’t even want the thing.

We spouted feminist arguments in self-righteous indignation.

“What?! Just because he has a penis??”

“Oh, so you think there were no McClain women warriors?”

 “What if he has no sons?”

“What if he *dies* first?”

I was the eldest after all. I deserved the shillelagh. Here, I thought I had the winning argument.

“OK Dad,” I say, “What if I keep my name and get my husband to change his name to McClain?”

“Ah,” he says, and calls me by my ancestral name, “Maggie girl, it’s not that easy to become a McClain.”