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A Rose By Any Other Name… And She’d Still Get It Wrong

, , , , , , | Related | March 1, 2022

My mom had a strange and rather maddening habit of constantly mispronouncing or mixing up people’s names. If your name was “Ben,” she’d keep calling you “Bill.” If your last name was “Williams,” get used to being called “Willman.” I had a teacher whose last name was “Wainio”; she kept referring to him as “Weinberg”.

One day, my mom took a message for my dad. He returned the call.

Dad: “Hi, I’m looking for a Maxine [Last Name].” *Pauses* “This is [phone number], right? She left a message concerning [topic].” *Pauses* “Oh, I’m sorry!”

Dad slammed down the phone after the conversation.

Dad: “How in the h*** do you confuse ‘Molly’ with ‘Maxine’?!”

I came home one day to find a note saying, “Please call Karen at [number]; she wants to talk to you about [issue].”

Me: *Hesisitating and dialing* “Hi, my name is [My Name]. Someone called about [issue]…”

Call Recipient: “Do you remember who left the message?”

Me: *Pause* “It was a bad connection; we didn’t get the name clearly. It started with a K, I believe?”

Call Recipient: “We have a Kathy and a Kayla.”

It turned out to be Kathy.

And for the mother of all blunders. This happened at my wedding. My mom gave a brief closing speech:

Mom: “…and I wish [My Name] and Florence the absolute best—”

Wife: “My name is Felicia!”

I squeezed my eyes shut while the audience chuckled loudly.

Me: “Thanks, Mom!”

How Else Can I Tell You That I AM ME?

, , , , , | Working | February 25, 2022

I am female, but I have a name that is usually chosen for males. I answer a phone call from a number I don’t recognize. The caller sounds like a middle-aged Aussie bloke.

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “Hi, I’m calling for [My Name].”

Me: “That’s me.”

The caller is silent.

Me: “So, what do you want?”

Caller: “I was hoping to talk to [My Name].”

Me: “Yeah, that’s me.”

Caller: “Oh, areyouthebetterhalfthen?”

Me: “Say again?”

Caller: “Are you the better half, then?”

Me: “Um… I guess.”

Caller: “Well, I’m just ringing from [Solar Panel Company]. I’m not trying to sell you anything, but, [My Name] rang us some time ago for a quote; he was quite interested and we just wanted to follow up with him.”

Me: “Why are you saying, ‘he’? Who are you talking about?”

Caller: “[My Name].”

Me: “I’ve told you twice already: that’s me. What the f***, dude?”

Caller: “…”

I hung up.

Honestly, I get that I am female and my name is traditionally male. A lot of people are confused when they first speak to me, but they immediately take it in their stride and move on. Not this guy; his hole is so deep he’s halfway to China by now.

A Deluge Of Dans

, , , , | Learning | February 6, 2022

It’s the first day of school and our teacher has not met most of us before.

Teacher: “I’d like everyone to tell me their names so I can get to know you.”

Me: “My name is Dani.”

Classmate #1: “I’m Dannie.”

Classmate #2: “And I’m Daniel.”

Teacher: “Um…”

I already feel sorry for him, and I’m wondering what the odds are of having three people in the same class with similar names, since we are a very small school. And then:

Classmate #3: “Hey, my name is Darrell.”

The poor guy never did manage to get our names right, though he tried his best.

Don’t Be A Dum Dum About Your Health

, , , , , , | Learning | January 29, 2022

In the late 1990s, my high school — and I think the whole district — did a policy change where the front office, nurse, teachers, etc., were no longer allowed to pass out condoms or provide any type of advice on how to avoid pregnancy.

We already had a couple of girls get pregnant that year, so there was a bit of an outrage about this new change, not that I think many people went to the front office to get condoms.

One of my friends lived within spitting distance of the free health clinic, so two or three times a week, I started going there and getting free condoms in bags of twelve. I purchased a giant bag of Dum Dum lollipops and tied them together with rubber bands. Within a few weeks, I had students that I didn’t know come up to me asking for a lollipop or two. Teachers were fully aware, even more so when I threw a few across the classroom, but they never said a word.

My senior year, zero girls got pregnant, and the health clinic started giving me multiple bags of condoms at a time so I only had to go every few weeks, as they fully supported what I was doing.

I had somehow forgotten about this, as it was twenty years ago, until someone messaged me on Facebook asking if I was the Condom Girl from [High School] and if I remembered them. I guess that is better than Dum Dum Girl.

A Todd In The Hand Is Worth Four Johns In The Bush

, , , , | Working | January 28, 2022

I ended up working in a team with three Johns for a while: John Jones, John Wang, and John Patel. To avoid confusion, each of them went by their surname. This worked out perfectly fine until we hired a fourth John: John Todd. At this point, the great debate over what to call an existing team member, Todd Black, began.

For some reason, Human Resources got wind of this and worried about potential hurt feelings and bullying. They continued to worry until they came down and demanded that John Todd be addressed as “John.”

This was a completely logical solution, which was why no one agreed with it.

And so, the response came back from the team that they couldn’t possibly call Toddy-J “John,” as that was what everyone called me.

Yes, the solution to having a team of eight where half the team members’ first names were John was to give the name to the only woman on the team.

When I left a few years later, all the other Johns had already moved on. And yet, my farewell gift was a mug with the name “John” on it, and all my farewell card messages were addressed to “John” — except for Todd Black, who remembered the history and addressed it to “Johnita”.