WHAT’S in a name?
It’s a great question, and one that would elicit many different responses depending on who you ask.
For me, your name forms a big part of your identity.
As many people have mentioned to me in previous conversations, I have a bit of a unique name.
One of the common questions I get when I meet people for the first time is: ‘Is that your real name?’
It happens more regularly than you might think.
Chatting to people on the phone – whether it’s for work, or simply ordering a pizza – it’s rare that I can introduce myself without having to repeat my name.
It’s just become habit for me to spell it out to people, unprompted, because I know the follow-up question is coming regardless.
“Hi, did you say Brady?”, the person on the other end almost always asks.
“No, Grady, with a ‘G’; G-r-a-d-y”, I reply, with near robotic precision as I’ve done it hundreds of times before.
My journalist colleague here at The Bunyip, Matteo Gagliardi, faces similar challenges when conversing via phone.
To remedy it, he’s resorted to referring to himself simply as ‘Matt’ to avoid the confusion.
He’s taken the easy way out, but I won’t be giving up the fight anytime soon: I won’t become a ‘Brady’.
Similarly, ‘Grady’, if read in passing, can easily be mistaken for a lot of other names.
Granted, I can understand names being misconstrued in phone calls, but I can never fathom how people can get a name wrong when replying by email – particularly when it’s right there for them to read.
Almost weekly I cop one of the following: ‘Gary’, ‘Greg’, ‘Brady’, ‘Brodie’ and even ‘Gardy’, despite my name being written clear as day in my email signature, which is attached to every piece of correspondence I send.
This week I even copped a ‘Gabby’ for the first time – it was a good try, but not remotely close.
People with unique names, or names with unusual spelling, will no doubt sympathise
with my plight.
Of course, I write this purely in good humour; I’m aware there’s far more pressing issues in the world.
Besides, no one ever intends to get a name wrong.
Even when they do so in email, it’s hard to bring yourself to correct them, and most of the time you don’t even bother.
But a person’s name is an important part of their identity.
For three days I was unofficially ‘Ethan’ until my dad suggested the name ‘Grady’, and the rest is history.
‘Ethan Hudd’ sounds a little too much like ‘Ethan Hunt’, and every time I think of it all I want to do is watch one of the Mission Impossible movies.
Thank you, dad, for helping me avoid a lifetime of Tom Cruise references.
So, despite the regular wrong spellings – some, I might add, are pretty funny – I wouldn’t ever consider changing my name.
It’s part of who I am.
If you’ve got an unusual name, and have some funny examples of how it has wrongly been spelt in the past, I’d love to hear from you (send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org).
WHAT’S in a name?