Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How Important is Your Name to You?

For some people, their names are really, really important to them.

They go out of their way to spell their names in an out of the ordinary way, just so that they can be different. Maybe spend a little more time discussing their name…because they’ll have to spell it for you, and then you can discuss how unusual it is, or whatever.

Being someone with a name that you’ll never find on those little license plates that you can stick up on your bedroom door, or on pencils or cups at the dollar store…I’m used to having to spell my name, and then discuss how unusual it is…and being asked what nationality it derives from.

Frankly, I could live without it.

I was very ready to take on The Misters surname when we got married, just so that I could stop spelling my name when people asked for it.
About 10 minutes ago, the courier guy came in and asked for my name, (which isn’t really Radmila, in case you didn’t know) and I said it, and he thought I said something else, and I didn’t correct him.

Then, I thought about how I do that a lot.
I have one of those names that is unusual (to Canadian ears, but quite common in Slavic countries).
With the change of one letter it can be transformed into at least 5 other names.
Some of these other names are more commonly heard of than others.
Some are actually nicer than my own name.
Sometimes people will go months saying my name incorrectly, and I won’t say anything.

For me, whether I correct you or not will depend on how important you are, or might be in my circle of life.
If you’re a business associate, I’ll correct you.
If you’re a Cashier I’ll never see again, I won’t.

Some people are very particular about their names, adding double letters where they aren’t necessary.
Apostrophes in place of letters…silent letters that serve no purpose but to confuse anyone who wants to give them a Birthday or Christmas card.
And they’ll get righteously pissed if someone spells it wrong.

Personally, I have enough stress in my life without adding to it with trivial shit.
The way I look at it, I could have been named anything.
In fact, the first elementary school teacher I had changed my name completely, simply because she didn’t know how to pronounce it.
I went through my entire school life with a name that wasn’t even legally mine.
Ok..that pissed me off as an adult because that had more to do with not accepting immigrants than it did anything else. But, as a kid...I just wanted to fit in, and even though the name was hideous, I didn't complain.

These days, everyone wants to be different.
Sometimes, you can be so different, that you end up being the same.