Name trouble? I used to think I had a bad case of it, what with that tiresome E-Y at the end of my surname. But the mail has brought forth some fellow sufferers, and I must stand aside. As the kids would say, the name trouble these people have is awesome.
Take Carolyn Ciavarella of Suitland. No, smarty pants, it's not Carolyn Cinderella. Yet that's the label that every fledgling comedian in the western world hangs on Carolyn, thinking all the while how original he is, probably.
Can you imagine the hair that Margret R. Parker of Northeast has yanked from her head over the years? Yes, it's Margret, not the more common Margaret.
Julie Blenn (not Bleen, not Blen, not Glenn) of Takoma Park looks on the bright side of all this. "At least those of us with names like that get remembered . . . . And we don't get phone calls for the 'other Blenns' in the phone book (I'm the only one)."
William S. Jordan III of Southeast wouldn't seem to have a thing to worry about. Yet he says he is forever being rendered as "Jordon." As Bill writes, "there are very few Jordons, not even the river. But somehow . . . ."
Art Gliner of Silver Spring is public service and community affairs director of radio station WJMD-FM. For years, Art has been collecting horrible, hapless and hilarious manglings that people have performed on his name. A partial glossary: Art G. Liner, Arte Gliner, Srt Gliner and Ary Gliner.
In the other four dozen or so, Art's correspondents got his first name right. But oh what followed:
Galina, Goines, Cline, Goliano, Gleiner, Gliener, Glines, Glinis, Glinel, Glinger, Glinit, Glinek, Glinder, Gliver, Glider, Glener, Glever, Glainer, Geiner, Glymer, Glainer, Gloiner, Giliner, Ginder, Goiner, Fliner, Kliner, Dliner, Bliner, Pliner and Klinner. And, as they say in the radio biz, many, many more.
Aileen Andres Sox writes to reveal that her husband's name is Robert. Inevitably, of course, he is called Bobby.
"Common mistakes regarding the name include calling it Fox or Sock," Aileen confides. "One time he got a letter addressed to Mr. Box Sox.
"I knew when I married him that I would have to have a good joke to tell when people snicker 'Bobbie Sox?' the first time they hear his name.
"I tell them that we are planning to name our first three children Dirty, Darned and Argyle."
But the door prize goes to Alison Wood Bennett. She writes:
"I'm not writing to complain about the spelling of my name, though heaven knows there are a half dozen ways to spell Alison. But my problem has been the confusion of my mother and I. Her name: Alice.
"The whole time I was growing up, no one was ever sure if they wanted Alice Wood or Alison Wood. For 20 years we asked into the telephone, 'Alice or Alison?'
"Twelve years ago, I got married! Solved the problem and became Alison Wood Bennett!
"You may have guessed it. Two years later, she married my father-in-law (both widowed). Now she's Alice Wood Bennett, and we'll remain confused forever."