A Wisconsin woman, who works full-time at Beloit College, has the real given name of Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck. And, according to a recent report in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, she earned a doctorate degree this past May, so is now officially Dr. Marijuana Pepsi…Vandyck.
Vandyck, 46, said she’s been teased all her life by classmates, teachers and bosses because of her name. She told the Journal-Sentinel, “Regardless of what they do, say or what they’re trying to put in place, you still have to move forward and succeed.” She noted that some people simply refused to call her by her real name, often opting for “Mary,” which she dismissed. She admitted, however, that she went by the initials MP when she worked as a real estate agent—so stoners wouldn’t steal her business signs.
Marijuana Pepsi’s mother, Maggie Johnson (!), bestowed the unusual name on her daughter. Despite the fact that she named Marijuana Pepsi’s sisters “Kimberly” and “Robin.” Despite her success, Vandyck, who neither smokes weed nor drinks pop, advises against naming kids after pot or illicit drugs.
Not surprisingly, she left her unstable home when she was 15 and has spent her life trying to prove herself. She vowed to earn her PhD soon thereafter, telling others “I’m going to be called Dr. Marijuana Pepsi.” Everybody has a dream. Though many go Up In Smoke.
So it was with great pride that she presented her dissertation, titled “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions,” to her instructors at Cardinal Stritch University. (For her dissertation, Vandyck interviewed other students whose teachers and classmates had focused on their names, according to the Journal-Sentinel report).
Happily—if ironically—Marijuana Pepsi has achieved her dream of getting a PhD in higher education leadership. She asserted: “I’ve grown into my name because I am a strong woman. I’ve had to be.”
Let’s hope this story doesn’t prompt others to give ridiculous names to their offspring. We’ll have enough problems in the near future without having to deal with a Dr. Magic Mushrooms Mountain Dew, a Dr. Opioid Sprite, a Dr. Cigarettes Fanta, a Dr. Downer Mello Yello, or a Dr. Heroin Coca-Cola. (Almost sounds redundant).
As for me, well, I prefer to be called Dr. Beer Dr. Pepper.