say my name

i take an intensely perverted pleasure in making people say my name. it is not a hard name to say, actually it is a ridiculously easy name to say once you pay attention to the way i have said it, but i delight in making people say it over and over, with mortified faces until they get it right.

i guess it started back in albania, when my name was common enough, but not terribly so. it is a good, solid name, purely albanian as far as i know, and it does not encourage nicknames. a lot of my classmates and cousins had nicknames, and i had my share too, but nothing from my name. it was easy to say, easy to write, easy to remember, modern enough not to be ashamed of it, and it did not rhyme with neither the street songs or embarrasing body parts. i guess i took for granted the ease with which it was used, that i did not think twice about correcting other’s people names when they did not fit the most common spellings, like Evis, Ervis, Elvis, Elvi, Elvana, Elvin that i grouped all in one: Evi.

As soon as i moved to NY things changed. everybody who heard it, wrinkled their brow and depending on how important i was to them, either made  an effort to say it correctly or butchered it smoothly and tried to avoid calling me by name from then on. the name tag helped, but my spelling didn’t. i was so bad at spelling, i actually had to write my name down in my palm.

then i got a job as customer service. i had all sorts of clients lined up to talk to me, especially on Mondays after a big hangover, because my voice appearantly slid a couple of octaves lower and it grabbed them by the groin.  our number was actually an 800 number so they also saved money in the process. it was all lovey dovey, until we got to my name. then, i could just hear in their voices a seething feeling, the same i get when i call Dell or my Macy’s card customer service and a heavily accented voice answers. i got so many spellings that i made a list and put it on my cubicle, as a reminder of how thick these yankees really were. the list was as follows:

bloerthe

bleartha

blertha

blur

blairta

bloara

bertha

brenda

brianna

plerthe

burrita

blubber

bladder

benda

etc.

so i tortured them by spelling it out too quickly, then making them say it until they got it half-way right. big fun.

then my coworker and friend of three years and a half wrote me a post-it starting with:

Dear Blertha,

it did not make it any easier let me tell you especially since we had both made fun of the illiterate interior designers who butchered our names. but as she would put it: c’est la vie….

then there were the telemarketers. naturally phonophobic, imagine my irkness at being woken up at 10.00AM from my much deserved slumber, to be called something that sounded like a cross between a dead bird and a bodily function. why, oh why these people do not read a bit more before they start irritating people on the phone? then they complain that they can not sell anything. if they tell me that telemarketing is satan’s way of harrasing past life sinners, i would fully believe it. learn a different language, hire a speech coach or catch your tongue with a clothes pin, but please say my name right!

nowadays, i just correct people with that contemptuous look in my eyes that says it all really. i hope they go home and think about opening up their minds and eyes and learning a different language, instead of scratching off their minds the lady with the unpronouncable name. if not, they are in for trouble, because God will make them reincarnate as telemarketers.

7 thoughts on “say my name

  1. This is not even close to be bad…my name is not pronouncable at all, but on the bright side I don’t have to go thru that hell….I simply use an american name, which is very similar to my albanian short name, and that’s it. I hate this, but in my case I can’t blame nobody for not being able to pronounce my name right….(I’m giving you just the terrible “q”, not to mention that this directly follows an “l”…) so I ended up like the asians named Chuck Vu, or even Michael Chang, if you wish….yup, life is not fair! 😦

  2. “if they tell me that telemarketing is satan’s way of harrasing past life sinners, i would fully believe it” —hahahahah, i cannot stop laughing at this

  3. i do not see a reason for me to change my name if there is still a michael lipshitz in existence (no relation to anybody i know, but i had to interview sb by this name once, and i had to do it with a straight face)
    besides i can pronounce korean names correctly even if they are Pee Yu New
    Klimi, the worst was when i got a telemarketing call by an ALBANIAN person who was selling phone subsccriptions. He butchered my name three times calling me Blerina, Bleri and Blerime!!!!
    But I shall overcome.

  4. I can`t say anything about english or french speaking north americans for people had a hard time with my name in my own country: Najada, Nadja, Nereida, Nadire, Naime, and of course Aida,and Ida.My uncle, who just like the majority of the people of my city suffers from what I call a “shkodran symptom”, gave me this name, which is made of -Aida(a caracter of the opera of Giuseppe Verdi with the same title)+ N(the first letter of his name, Nadir). The above mentioned symptom is the strong believe that is shared from 90% of the population of Shkodra,that they are and have to be artists, also as a national necessity, a symptom that I grew out of when I met my husband (who is from Vlora).
    But I stopped caring about the spelling of my name altogether around the time I stopped hanging cherries as earrings and started to believe that the guy whom I had a crush on at the age of 6 was really dumb.
    I really enjoyed your post.

  5. bo bo ça torture per ju..une e quaj veten me fat qe e kam emrin Eni sepse ketu ne Turqi njerezit nuk i thone dot dy bashketingellore bashke dhe fusin patjeter zanore ne mes.psh. nje shoqja ime qe quhej Brisida e therrisnin : Birisida..ose fjales psikologji i thone : pisikologji:)))
    Hajt e marrsh me te lehte:)

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