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·rowed, far·row·ing, far·rows
v.tr.To give birth to (a litter of pigs).
v.intr.To produce a litter of pigs.
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·rowed, fur·row·ing, fur·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.