[Y'all...the format is all screwed up. Why can't I figure out typepad sometimes? Why can't I have spaces between paragraphs? I've tried to fix it 4 or 5 times. So, it is what it is. I'm sorry...this isn't very readable.]
At work the other day I had to call this guy named Stephen.
"May I please speak to Steven," I asked.
"This is SteFen," was the icy response.
At to that I say, suck it. Your name is Steven. Yes, we call a phone a fone, and a photograph a fotograph, but we don't extend that to the name Stephen. I mean, we can....but we just don't. We're not in Europe. And trying to change the pronunciation of your name to make it sound more intellectual or formal isn't going to actually accomplish that. It's just going to annoy the people who are forced to remember Stephen = Stefen. And why so mad, Stefen? Surely this isn't the first time you've been addressed as Steven! Again I say, suck it.
All of this Stefen business got me thinking about names in general. Specifically, why can't people just do normal things with name?
In college, one of the administrators of the school did that thing where he only listed his first initial, then middle name, then last name. So it read as J. MiddleName LastName. Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but I became a little obsessed over what the J. stood for. It had to be something really awkward or embarrasing to warrant only an initial? Was it Jermaine? Jamal? Jebediah? Jasper? Juan? Jose? Not that those names are awkward or embarrasing, it's just that they didn't fit with his very WASP-y self. I had a friend in college who swore he knew what the initial stood for at one point, but he could no longer remember. and not only could he not remember, he didn't care to even try to remember. Needless to say, we're no longer friends. I'm sure the J stands for something really mundane and normal. He's probably a John, or a Joseph, or a James. But if that's the case, why not just use the name rather than the initial? Seriously JaleelJackJonah, you're getting on my nerves.
And lest you think I'm super cranky, it even extends to my family. One of my cousins is named after my grandfather. However, the intention was never to call him by that name. Instead, we call him by his middle name. I understand the desire to name a child after a relative, so why not call him that? William is a very acceptable name. Or, why not make the family name the midde name? It still gets the same point across.
And let's not even start talking about how people are taking normal, respectable names and completely screwing up the spelling in an effort to make the name more "uniqe" or "cute". Actually, let's talk about that.
Emileigh. I saw this on a sticker on the back of someone's car the other day. You know what? Your name is Emily.
Rhys. As in Reece. Guess what, your name is Reece. And yes, I know this is a very English name, but there is no English in that situation.
Lizabeth. Former co-worker's name. How many times did I hear, "No, it's not E-lizabeth. It's like that, but without the E." Just call yourself Elizabeth and make it easier for everyone, okay?
And there are more. So many more. It seems, to me anyway, that if you have to complelety alter the spelling of a name to make it more "unique", then the name itself was never unique to begin with. And why do that to your child? Emileigh sounds the same as Emily. It just has more letters. And no one will ever know how to say Rhys correctly. It's just not going to happen.
Now I feel mean.
I'll just end this with an open letter:
It's just a name. Say it right. Spell it right. It'll make everything easier.
Yes, Mathew is with one 't'. No that's not a mistake. Well, I guess it is. That's how it got put on my birth certificate. My mom didn't notice. My dad was out getting breakfast. No, Matt is not spelled with one 't'. Because that looks weird and then I would be a door mat, that's why. No, none of this entry applies to my name at all. Yes, that is fair. Because I said so, that's why. Because it's my blog. Because I want you to leave me the hell alone, okay? Goodbye to you too.