An Email Many People Would Strive For

, , , , , | Working | June 24, 2019

We have a program that generates user logins and a company email after someone who needs to access it fills out a form on our account creation site. Normally, it will use your initials, then your department acronym or the acronym of the department that has contracted you to work for our company, and if you’re an outside contractor, then the initials of the company you work for.

I’m sitting at my desk with my coworker at her desk next to me, only half paying attention when a young woman walks in behind one of our HR reps. I hear the HR rep tell my coworker we need to change the young woman’s email. This happens occasionally, normally because some mashup of the characters adds up to a swear word, or the person will be using the company email to email non-personnel and needs to be more “professional” than our seemingly random jumble of letters. I don’t look up until my coworker starts cracking up, as do the HR rep and the young woman. I scoot over to see why.

The young woman’s name — changed for privacy, but initials kept the same — was Donna Olivette Nguyen-Orson.

The department she had been contracted by was the newly-created Reservations and Event Planning department; this woman was an events planner and was coming on board to streamline our company’s corporate events and travel for the next few months while they hired out a full department of staff, since they’d just given these things their own department. She was the first to get the email address containing the REP acronym.

Her company’s initials? L and Y.

Using our usual protocols, our automatic generator had happily pinged out the email address:

[email protected][website].com

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Cousin To Jean Valjean And Richie Rich

, , , , | Friendly | June 21, 2019

(I’m 16 years old and am in the Boy Scouts of America. I’ve taken a group of younger scouts with me to a school board meeting. This is a requirement for the Citizenship in the Community merit badge I’m helping them earn. As we observe the meeting, I notice that one of the board member’s nameplates says, “Bob Roberts.” During a break, I speak up.)

Me: “Excuse me, Mr. Roberts?”

Roberts: “Yes?”

Me: “Your first name, Bob… That’s short for Robert, right?”

Roberts: “Yes, very good.”

Me: “So, your name is… Robert Roberts?”

Roberts: *deadpan* “Yes, it is.”

Me: “Your parents have quite a sense of humor, don’t they?”

Roberts: “Yes, they sure did.”

Me: “Do I dare ask what your middle name is?”

Roberts: “It’s Anthony.”

Me: *a little disappointed* “Oh…”

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The Last Thing Alvin Needs Is More Coffee

, , , , , | Right Working | June 14, 2019

(This couple comes in and orders one drink: an iced Americano. It’s later in the night when it’s slower, so I decide to have some fun with it when I call it out, based on the name they gave.)

Me: “I have a medium iced Americano for—“ *a la Dave from “Alvin and the Chipmunks”* “ALLLLLLLVVVVVVVVIN!”

(They laughed so hard and said it was the best moment of their day. It was a really great day — and shift — for me, too.)

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An Education In Coincidence

, , , , , , | Learning | June 5, 2019

This one’s on me. For the past year or so, I’ve had five wonderful 10- to 12-year-old boys in my Minecraft classes, good friends who became closer through interacting on their computers. A sixth boy recently joined for the spring term, and I noted that he shared [Uncommon Last Name] with one of the previous students — who has a hyphenated name, but half of it is identical — and both of them listed [Mother’s Not-Too-Common First Name] [Uncommon Last Name] as their emergency contact. Naturally, I figured they were brothers…

…and managed to greatly upset the long-time student by telling him that. Probing further before the next class, I found that one student lived on the east end of the county while the other came from a more western city. You can bet I was extremely apologetic to the student in that next class!

Yes, there are two mothers with the same first and last name, with a son between 10 and 12, whose child has high-functioning mental challenges, who signed him up for the same class at the same time in a town neither of them lives in.

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A Tale Of Two Catherines

, , , | Learning | May 31, 2019

(In high school, my sister happens to have the same first and last name as another student. They have different middle names and initials, and also use different shortened forms of their first name. Let’s say their name is Catherine, and one goes by Katie and the other by Cathy. While my sister is a bit of a goody-two-shoes and is in all the advanced classes, the other one is kind of a troublemaker. At our high school, you can’t leave campus during lunch. My sister is called to the vice principal’s office. As soon as she enters his office, the vice principal whirls on her.)

VP: “What do you have to say for yourself?”

Sister: “What did I do?”

VP: “You snuck out at lunch with him!”

(He points to a boy sitting in a chair in the office.)

Sister: “I’ve never met him in my life before.”

Boy: “Yeah, no, I’ve never met her, either.”

VP: “Don’t lie, Cathy.”

Sister: “Oh…” *realizing it* “You have the wrong Catherine [Last Name]. There’s two of us. I’m Katie. She’s Cathy. You want Catherine B [Last Name], not Catherine A [Last Name].”

(The vice principal looked skeptical but then went to his computer and looked up the student names and found that, sure enough, there were two students with the same name. He sent her back to class. This happened several more times throughout high school; she’d get called to the office, the vice principal would look at her and say, “Dang it. Wrong Catherine. Go back to class, Katie.” She never did actually meet the other Catherine. It was a large high school, and they didn’t run in the same circles. She thought that she might meet her at graduation, since we sat alphabetically, but by then, Cathy had had a baby and finished high school in summer school, so she didn’t walk at graduation.)

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