Thursday, 14 November 2013

What’s In a Name


Sometime in the past three years or so, I wrote a blog about names that I have had in my life. I think it was fairly recent, but I am still going by 1972 prices for clothing, so what do I know. We all answer to different names at different times in our lives and in some way I suspect they have a part in determining who we are at that point in time.

On facebook today, a friend of mine seemed a little upset that some call centre person questioned her name. She has one of those two name names like BobbyJoe, CindyLee, BillyBob and MarkyMark. There is nothing wrong with a name like that, and I personally find them kind of cute in an “I’m from the South and my mom was 14 when she gave me my name.” kind of way. The question was “Is that one word or two?” Personally, I think it is better to ask and get it right on the form, than to assume and get it wrong.

When I was delivering mail, I would often have an item that needed a signature and more often than not I would screw up the name. It’s not that I couldn’t read the name; it was more that the person’s parents had no idea how to spell or the person themselves pronounced their name with the emphasis on not the obvious syllable. I suppose it is a way to set your self apart from the masses. Sometimes I would argue with these people if I felt in a particularly playful mood.

I would say that I had a registered letter for a Helen Jackson and the person would look at me as if I were speaking Swahili. I’d repeat the name, making sure that I was indeed speaking English and the person would reply that her name is pronounced “Hee-lain”.

“Oh, but it’s spelled the same way that Helen is spelled.”

“It’s Hee-lain!”

“Are you sure?”

“ I should know my name!” They would reply getting madder by the second.

“Well, whatever the name is, I need a signature…just sign Helen.”

I know that she was concerned that I didn’t know her name, just as my friend was concerned that the guy at the call centre got her name wrong. The thing we as humans need to understand is that the only person that gives a shit what your name is would be you.

Did you know that you can live and work under any name just so long as you don’t do so to defraud anyone? I worked at a job once and a co-worker called me “Dave” for about three months. We both knew who he was talking to and it didn’t bother me at all. He felt a little stupid when he found out my real name, but probably just because we were all laughing at him. Louise calls me all sorts of names and the only time she uses “Ken” is when she is introducing me as her first husband.


I guess what I am trying to say is that it doesn’t matter what someone calls you, you are a beautiful person who loves their family and friends. You’re a little anal about your name, but that just makes you…you.

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