The other day, a friend of mine asked, “Why do we even have names anyway?” It is not a stupid question. At least not for me. My name is Rosemarie Magdalen Richard. Admittedly, that’s a pretty big name. Apparently, it’s too hard for many people to attempt to say correctly.
When they bother to say it, they ask for “Rosemary” Richard. Rosemary Richard lives in Gladstone and makes good sugar cookies for her numerous grandchildren, one of whom is named Rosemarie. I blame this on the whole word reading method. People miss out on learning valuable phonetic rules when they are taught to read by memorizing words instead of sounds.
I’ve decided that since, statistically, no one can say my name right, everyone should just call me Rose. It’s short and sweet, and generally easy to remember. Of course my dad wants me to go by Rosemarie because it’s his fault I am so named. If I came into this world a male, I would have been named Vladimir, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain too much.
However, the Rose Richard combination is no less confusing than the long form. Term after term, I’ve encountered professors who read the roll lists, and they know the names go last name, then first name, but somehow think that Richard Rose is a student. “Richard Rose? Uh, is a Mr. Rose here?” I get a lot of mail for that guy too. Sometimes people call my house looking for him, but he’s never around.
Last week, I was called Ruth three times, and Patricia once. I don’t know who the hell Patricia is. Two of the people who called me Ruth were good friends, and one was a radio guy. I think this is because Americans have gotten so lazy, they can’t speak right and so they just kind of mush up the last part of my name.
My last name is also taxing, especially for customer service representatives. When I order something, I am usually forced to engage in the following dialogue:
“What’s your name, ma’am?”
“Okay, (writing) Rose Richards.”
“No. Richard. No s. Just, Richard.”
They smile brightly and fill out the rest of the order form, or whatever. When they hand me my carbon copy, it usually says Rose Richards or worse, Rose Richardson. That’s my favorite mistake, because it means they weren’t listening to me in the first place.
I was thinking that really, I should just make up a new name every time I run into someone, because that’s how much thought people seem to be giving names these days. I can understand shop girls getting your name wrong once, but just ignoring it altogether? And my friends should just know my name. If they keep forgetting it, I’m going to make up names for them that they aren’t really going to like.
Madonna has the right idea. Sure people are going to misspell her name from time to time, but is anyone going to mispronounce it? It’s so easy to remember! One word! Rose is so short, and so sweet. How could anyone possibly get my name wrong?
Prince has had the best idea so far. Or should I say, The Artist Formerly Known As? From now on, I’m just going to make up a symbol and hope you will all get it right. It won’t be complicated, because I don’t want it to be hard for me to remember. So, from now on, you can all call me, The College Student Formerly Known As Rose, or you can just stop talking to me altogether.