They’re Terrible At Names

, , , , , | Working | January 8, 2018

(My first name is Jamie, which is my given name. People generally call me this, but I often run into issues with the older generations who think it is a nickname. A manager has recently joined the company and has been trying to send me a document via email.)

Manager: “I keep sending you the email. Are you sure you aren’t getting it?”

Me: “I’m certain. Have you been replying to the email I sent you?”

Manager: “No. I don’t think it’s professional doing that.”

Me: “You could copy the email address from it.”

Manager: “No, I’m not that tech savvy. Let me take it down again. ‘James–’”

Me: “Jamie.”

Manager: “Yes, James.”

Me: “No. My name is actually Jamie.”

Manager: “Jamie is a nickname. You must be called James.”

Me: “No, I’m telling you it’s Jamie.”

Manager: “I’ll check with IT.”

(He leaves for half an hour and returns.)

Manager: “They say they won’t change your email address.”

Me: “Why would they even do that?”

Manager: “Because you can’t use your nickname. It confuses people.”

Me: “It is not my nickname. It is my actual name.”

Manager: “They say you need to call them and confirm. I suggest you do it quickly; this email needs to be sent!”

(He left again and I didn’t call IT. I decided to come in with my birth certificate the day after. He refused to believe it and demanded to see the “real” certificate. At this, I just gave up. He continued to try sending emails to me, and moaned when I didn’t receive them. Thankfully he wasn’t actually my manager, being in a different department, and the documents he was sending weren’t important enough for me to fuss over. My actual manager, however, has a sense of humour and finds all of this hilarious, and refuses to do anything until the other manager calls me Jamie at least once. IT can add a James variant to my email, but as it is an addition and not a straight-up change, my manager has to approve it. I don’t think anything is going to change anytime soon.)

And Jojo Was Her Name-o

, , , , , , | Learning | January 6, 2018

(Years ago, when my youngest aunt first attended school, she had until then been called “Jojo” by family and friends instead of her birth name. This wasn’t an issue until she started school.)

Teacher: “[Aunt]? [Aunt]? I guess she’s absent.”

(After roll call is done, my aunt raises her hand.)

Aunt: “You didn’t call me!”

Teacher: “I didn’t? What’s your name?”

Aunt: “Jojo!”

Teacher: “There’s no Jojo on the list; your name can’t be Jojo.”

Aunt: *getting upset now* “Yes, I am! I’m Jojo!”

Teacher: *light bulb goes off* “The only absent person is [Aunt], are you [Aunt]?”

Aunt: “NO! I am Jojo! My name’s Jojo!”

Teacher: “[Surname] is your last name, right?”

Aunt: “Yes!”

Teacher: “Then you’re [Aunt].”

Aunt: “NO! I said my name is Jojo!”

(She then proceeds to have a full-on tantrum, so the teacher drags her to the office and calls my grandmother to try to resolve the issue. My grandmother just laughs.)

Grandmother: “OH! Jojo is her nickname. I didn’t realize we were only calling her that. Yes, this is [Aunt].”

Aunt: *stomps her foot* “Mooooooom! You’re dumb! My. Name. Is. Jojo!”

(Forty years later, the family will not let my aunt live it down.)

Naming The American Way

, , , , , , , | Learning | January 2, 2018

(I managed to earn a scholarship to a small, highly-rated private high school a little over an hour away from where I live, in a MUCH wealthier area. The community is very welcoming, but there are a few small differences in culture and attitude that sometimes leave me a little confused. I discover one of these when a foreign exchange student transfers into my small, tight-knit English class and we all introduce ourselves.)

Me: “Hi! My name’s [My Name]. It’s really nice to meet you!”

Teacher: “Wait, [My Name]? I thought you preferred [Variation of My Name].”

Me: “I don’t really have a preference. I usually just go by [My Name], since it’s what’s on all my important documents and such. But as long as I know you’re talking to me, you can pretty much call me whatever variation you want.”

Classmate #1: “Is that why you never correct your partner in engineering class when he calls you [Yet Another Variation of My Name]? I tried to correct him once, but he said that was how you introduced yourself to him, so he wasn’t going to change.”

Teacher: “Seriously?! Has everybody been calling you the wrong name this whole time? And you never said anything?! Addressing someone by their preferred name is a sign of respect! We can’t do that if you don’t let people know they’re using the wrong one!”

Me: “Really? I guess I never really saw it that way. People around me growing up pretty much just used names to refer to someone or get their attention, but not really out of respect. I guess this explains why people around here call people by name so often, even when it’s already obvious who you’re referring to.”

Classmate #1: “Well, it definitely explains why you never seem to use names in conversation. And if you only use names out of necessity, not as a matter of respect, then I guess it wouldn’t matter so much if people use the wrong one.”

Teacher: “Hm. Well, that was educational. So, it’s cool if we keep calling you [Variation of My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah, totally fine. So, back to introducing [Foreign Exchange Student]. Enjoying classes here so far?”

Foreign Exchange Student: “Yes, but I’ve been in this class all of twenty minutes and I’m already confused. Should I use first names often? Avoid using them? Which one is more accepted throughout America?”

Classmate #2: “Heck if any of us would know. I’d say, if you remember someone’s name, use it. If you don’t, mumble something close and hope for the best. Or, maybe just ask their name again.”

Teacher: “Yeah, if teaching the kids from [City I Grew Up In] has taught me anything, it’s that even Americans don’t totally agree on the finer points of culture and etiquette. Seems like you’re better off just going with the flow wherever possible.”

Foreign Exchange Student: “That… doesn’t actually sound like very helpful advice.”

Classmate #1: “Brace yourself, dude. American culture only gets more vague and weird from there.”


, , , , | Friendly | January 2, 2018

(This is 20 years ago. I’m at a friend’s house and I’m to answer her phone while she’s out.)

Me: “Hello.”

Caller: “Hi, is [Friend] there?”

Me: “She’s out. Can I ask her to call you back?”

Caller: “Okay, sure. It’s ‘local’ calling.”

Me: “I’m sorry. Can I have—”


Me: “—your name, please?”

(I tell my friend, anyway.)

Friend: *laughs* “It’s my friend Loco. L-O-C-O.”

Me: *laughs* “He calls himself ‘Crazy’?”

Friend: “Well, he really likes trains.”

(I never met the guy. and then I heard they were out of touch, until recently.)

Friend: *texts picture of herself and a guy* “Met up with a really old friend today. It’s been 18 years!”

Me: “Good for you. Hey, any chance he’s Loco?”

Friend: “Yup! How’d you know?”

Me: “He’s a 40-year-old guy with a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt and a hat that says ‘Indian Railways.'”

So THAT’S What He Did After The Bible

, , , , , , | Related | January 1, 2018

(It’s the new year, and Mum is putting away the Christmas decorations. One of the things she got for Christmas was a large Santa gnome decoration, which my brother and his girlfriend insisted be named. Note: My mum grew up, and is to date, religious.)

Mum: “[My Name], what did we name the Santa?”

Me: “I don’t know; it had like three complicated names. Why don’t you just rename it?”

Mum: “Okay, then his name will be Joseph!”

Me: “Joseph?”

Mum: “Yeah, after the Polish guy who gave my dad a bottle of alcohol every Christmas, which always irritated my mum.”

Me: “Ah, so not Joseph Joseph.”

Mum: “No, that would be weird.”

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