Oh The Humanity!

My friend, Firehand, has directed us to David Thompson’s beautiful skewering of an oh-so-downtrodden drama princess. A woman with the misspelled name of a goddess.

I spelled it for her like a first-grader would recite her home phone number. “I-c-e-s-s. You know, like the goddess, but spelled like ice,” I explained. “What?” she asked again.

Methinks perhaps she should be upset with her ‘clever’ parents that saddled her with such a moniker.

Yes, a name is not only who we are but also what we represent or hope to represent. They’re more personal than blood types and as intimate as a kiss. In my case, the name Icess involved the 1978 eastern seaboard blizzard and two immigrant parents who thought they were clever. They were, though it took me nearly a lifetime to acknowledge it.

Such a poor, delicate thing. How hard life must be. If only your parents had been as dull as mine and given you a name that can be shortened to a ‘proper pronoun’.

In fairness to Starbucks, it’s not just baristas who are at fault but any restaurant or eatery requiring a name to add a personal touch to its service. Over the years I’ve been Jessica, Jenny, Alison and She-Ra, Princess of Power. Yes, there came a time, after a lifetime of having my name misspelled and mispronounced by teachers, servers and sometimes bosses, where becoming She-Ra was easier than being myself. Angela could get coffee at Starbucks with ease while Icess was still spelling her name out. Jessica was a staple at my local Chinese place even though Icess paid. And even Microsoft Word recognized Jenny as a proper pronoun, a proper person, over me; the red squiggle line was a constant reminder. [Emphasis mine. For the record, I spell it ‘Jenni’, which also earns the squiggly line. I prefer not to be a female ass.]

Of course, who am I to protest? I don’t have a name at all! I should write my own op-ed about what a burden it is to be so labeled. A name so common that I can’t even use it to reliably identify my own coffee. Why, there may be as many as four ‘Jennifer’s’ in a Starbucks on any given day!

But alas, I have not been educated by anyone so talented as Icess. Oh to be such an amazing writer as to craft a word picture of someone giving birth to piglets from her brow.

Silence and a farrowed eyebrow.

Hmm, what an interesting visual.

far·row 1  (fr)

n.

A litter of pigs.
v.far·rowedfar·row·ingfar·rows

v.tr.

To give birth to (a litter of pigs).

v.intr.

To produce a litter of pigs.
Far more creative than the usual, furrowed eyebrow.

fur·row  (fûr, fr)

n.

1. A long, narrow, shallow trench made in the ground by a plow.
2. A rut, groove, or narrow depression: snow drifting in furrows.
3. A deep wrinkle in the skin, as on the forehead.
v.fur·rowedfur·row·ingfur·rows

v.tr.

1. To make long, narrow, shallow trenches in; plow.
2. To form grooves or deep wrinkles in.

v.intr.

To become furrowed or wrinkled.
Way to use that Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing-Fiction*! (Hey Cap! Here’s a degree for you. Maybe someone should send her a book.)
My maiden name is one that when spelled out includes the words ‘no apostrophe’. That happens when your grandfather changed it upon immigrating from the Philippines. Especially funny when it meant that every teacher in elementary school was scanning for the little Irish girl when calling roll the first day of school only to find me. Oh the burdens and scars I bear!
Celebrate diversity by making sure everyone is the same! Rejoice in the unique by making it the norm!
*This woman has taught writing. I weep for her students.

11 thoughts on “Oh The Humanity!”

  1. Sigh…

    My name has 19 characters in it. And my middle name is only 3…. Alex regularly gets made Alec or Eric all the time……

    Life….

  2. My last name is Erickson which is Swede for Son of Erick. I get variations of my first name all the time even though my first name is fairly common. More often, I get people calling me Eric thrown off by my last name. I take it in stride. My grandfather went by Eric as it was a lot easier than being Lt. Adolf Erickson on a US aircraft carrier in WWII. But, when I really want to mess with people especially Starbucks baristas, I go by Igor.

  3. Tha’ts not as bad as the little girl named “L-a”. Not “La” or “Lay”….no, according to the mother, “tha dash don’ be silent!” Yup. Ladasha.

    My middle name consists of four letters total, on of which is a repeat so technically its only 3 letters, “K”, “i”, and “r”. How ANYONE can misspell that, I dunno….especially Serenity’s family who’s known me for 10+ years now.

  4. I feel her pain, poor dear. My surname is only four letters, but no-one spells it pronounces it right.. *sob sob sob* inconsolable..

    She’s an idiot.

  5. I was at this locally owned home style restuarant ,commonly filled with an older church crown on Sunday with my young friend Ezekial. The teenage girl at the counter, took his credit card and said “wow, that’s an unusual name, where is it from”. The folks in the line behind tried not to smile (mentally thinking, “it’s the book between Lamentations and Daniel”). I couldn’t resist . . . .

    I”t’s from Dungeons and Dragons”.”

  6. There’s no “Mc” or “Mac” at the front end of my name, and no “K” at the rear.
    I’ve been specifying this my whole life, and still seeing it done wrong.

    You deal with it. (maybe find a little humor?)

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