Wednesday, September 17, 2014

What's in a Name?


What's in a name?  Names are our first identity. As a young child in the crib, so far beyond any remembrance or awareness we can muster, we identified with a name. Our parents called us by this and we responded with coos and smiles.

Our parents gave us a name, sometimes we like it and sometimes we don't.  If I could have changed my name many moons ago, I would have.  I frigging hate my name.  It reminds me of some stuck up British bitch.  Read this in your best British accent: Pamela Snodgrass Applebee.  Seriously, were my parents that in love with the name Pamela that they had to bestow this upon me?

I'll color myself excited about this because the other option, I was told through the years, was Priscilla.  Dear Lord, just shoot me now because I didn't stand a chance either way.

I suppose over time we resign ourselves to our given name and it just becomes too involved and overly complicated to change it.  That is unless you are one of the lucky ones who got to escape with a middle name or nickname you want to use and you can coerce people to call you by that as a youngster. Not me.  My middle name is Anne and though I guess I would prefer that name at this age over Pamela, I have gotten used to the stupid name.

Now imagine through the years as people take it upon themselves to change my name: Pam, Pammy, Pamela, whatevs.  I don't know how many times you have to tell someone your name is Pamela, yet they still call you Pam.  Sadly, I'm not alone.

There is a guy I work with who goes by the name of Joseph. You see, I'm sensitive to these things because I get it.  I have one of those piece of shit names that people indiscriminately decide to use in whatever way they feel like using it, screw how I feel about it.  Here is a recent exchange with poor Joseph:

So and so, "Hey Joe, can you...." Response, "It's Joseph."  So and so, "Well thanks for getting me that info Joe." Response, "It's Joseph." So and So, "I'll call you later Joe." Response, yet a third time, "It's Joseph." OMG, what does this idiot not frigging get?

I get it.  I totally get it. Unfortunately I have gotten it all my life. I go by Pamela. I sign everything Pamela. I fill out forms with Pamela. I introduce myself as Pamela.  So why the hell do people call me Pam?  Hello? You don't call Susan, Sue. You don't call Patricia, Pat. You don't call Richard, Dick.You don't call Margaret, Marge.  So why do people only hear what they want to hear and take it upon themselves to call Joseph-Joe, Matthew-Matt, Robert-Rob, Timothy-Tim, and Pamela-Pam?

I think I'm going to start shortening people's names just for the fun of it.   I'm going to start calling people names I feel like calling them and see how many times they correct me.  I'll let you know how that works out.