Monday, June 14, 2010

Just call me...


What's in a name?

That question has been pondered for ages and it would seem what is in a name is whatever the other person hears.

I am the first to admit I am terrible at remembering names. There are people I have known on a casual basis for years, and for the life of me I cannot remember their names.

Having worked in newspaper for almost two decades, (ouch, when I put it like that it sounds painful) I have met a lot of people.

The problem is, I am often the only reporter they met that day so odds are they will remember who I am.

More than once I have had conversations with people and I have no idea who they are, but they seem to know me so we banter back and forth for a few minutes before we go our separate ways.

ìWho was that?î my wife would ask.

ìBeats the hell out of me,î was often the reply.

But if you throw out a few vague and general questions, you can engage the person on a somewhat personal level. Often, during the course of the chat, I will recall where I know the person from. I might not remember their name ñ actually odds are greatly in favour of not remembering their name ñ but at least I know where I have seen them before.

So I have no problem if people do not remember my name, because I understand all too well the brain can only hold so much information and individual names just don't seem to have their own files and therefore are not embedded in the gray matter.

It is when I tell someone my name and they get it wrong two seconds later that I don't get.

I know my last name can be a bit of a challenge and I have seen some impressive attempts at spelling it.

There have been numerous variations of my last name, but the worst attempt at spelling it I have ever come across was at a take out restaurant where the waitress wrote Pansch on the box.

Like I said, it can be a rather tricky name, but people also have trouble mastering my first name.

ìHi, I'm Darren.î

Simple, right. Easy name, easy to spell, pretty basic stuff.

ìHello Derek nice to meet you.î

ìNo, actually my name is Darren.î

ìOh, I am sorry Darrell.î

While talking to a receptionist on the phone recently I even spelled out my first name while leaving a message.

ìYes, that is D-A-R-R-E-N.î

ìOK, thank you very much Ed, I will give him the message.î

I have no idea how she came up with Ed, but that is who the person I was trying to get in touch with asked for when he called back.

ìI am looking for someone named Ed, but for some bizarre reason he spells his name D-A-R-R-E-N. Weird. Must be Gaelic or something.î

For several years now one of my neighbours has been calling me Dan, but it is really not his fault.

I was working on my car one day and was wearing a second-hand pair of coveralls that had the name tag 'Dan' so he assumed that was me.

Dan, Darren, close enough.

Believe me I have been called a lot worse than Dan. Besides, what is the protocol for something like that. For about four years he has been calling me Dan. I didn't correct him at first, because I thought maybe he was saying my name, but was just not very good at it.

When he went on vacation he asked if I could collect the mail etc. My neighbour left a note that read, ìDan, thanks for...î

The really strange part is before they left I gave him a business card with my name and contact information on it.

So guess what he called me when he got back? You guessed it ñ Dan.

He was probably wondering why I would give him someone else's business card. Oh well, what can ya do? 

This is Dan or Darell or Tyrell or something like that anyway saying have a good day.

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