I've contributed to perhaps the best humor compilation I've ever read. Available now on Amazon!

My second chapbook, "The Second Book of Pearl: The Cats" is now available as either a paper chapbook or as a downloadable item. See below for the Pay Pal link or click on its cover just to the right of the newest blog post to download to your Kindle, iPad, or Nook. Just $3.99 for inspired tales of gin, gambling addiction and inter-feline betrayal.

My first chapbook, I Was Raised to be A Lert is in its third printing and is available both via the PayPal link below and on smashwords! Order one? Download one? It's all for you, baby!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Last Name is a Scrabble Bonanza!

While I would like to leave actual surnames out of this, for now, I do feel it necessary to point out to you that my last name is a Scrabble dream. We’re talkin’ big points, baby!

In other words, my last name can beat up your last name.

My last name, a hyphenated monstrosity created by the marriage of two people from the end of the alphabet, looks like a Dutch/Czechoslavakian nightmare, something hurled, drunkenly, as a curse.

Perhaps with a tasty hand gesture thrown in, just for color.

This post, by the way, has no redeeming social, spiritual, or economic value. But does it have to? I mean, I’m so relevant most of the time…


Why is it necessary that I bring up the fact that my last name is a consonant freak-out?

I don’t know where you’re from, but every public school I went to had a fascination, it seems, with making us sit in class alphabetically. Hence, with a surname starting with “Z”, I sat in the far corner of the room, sometimes the very last seat, with the Ws and Vs and Ys.

And you know how strange those people are.

Or is it only in the U.S. that the end of the alphabet seems out of place? Throw a “v” or a “z” in a word and suddenly the unwashed amongst us get flustered.

“Where you from?”


“No, I mean before that.”


“No, I mean where do your people come from?”

Ah. Now I see what you’re driving at. You want to know where I got a name that starts with “Z”. Because it’s funny or something. Ha ha.

Two jobs ago, I supervised the receptionist in a medium-sized office in a rather rural suburb. When we had visitors to the office, it was her job to put the little white letters on the big black “welcome” board. You know: The People’s Credit Union and Coin-Operated Laundry Welcomes So-and-So.

Just before I left there, she let me know that she could not fill in the “welcome board” for the next day’s visitor because “it would be obscene”.


“His name is obscene.”

His name?

Leo Fuchs.

I had to explain to this person that people’s names are not obscene, they are their names.

She said, and I quote, “Well, if I get in trouble I’ll tell them it was your idea.”

Yeah. You do that.

You know, I will sneak a French fry off your plate, I will bum cigarettes and I will dance with your husband if he asks; but of all the things I may do, I will never make fun of your name, no matter what it is.

But if I land on triple word score, I will kick your ass.


Comedy Goddess said...

Sitting in the way back didn't detour your ability to become very smart!

My maiden last name was too ethnic for most of my teachers. They glommed it into various versions of their own ethnicity.

Does getting imuttu as word verif. mean we are similar?

Comedy Goddess said...

Come over to my place and let me know if the Glogg recipe is a good one.
Minnesota's probably got Glogg on tap. Everywhere.

derfina said...

I can vouch for the veracity of her claim-I've SEEN this last name of which she speaks. She chits you NOT.

Pearl said...

Hi, CG!
Thank you for the compliment. :-) And Glogg?! The Drinking Midwesterner in me smells a drink...

Hi, Derfina!
That's right! :-)


Sarah Gostrangely said...



I'm burning with curiosity here....

Mine was so unpronouncable in secondary school that most people just said, Peeeeeerrrreeeee, are you here?

Nothing like a surname that sounds like a peeing nun to give you torment in school.

Pearl said...

Hi, Sarah.
:-) Now THOSE are some intense names, and I'm afraid they are illegal in the U.S.

Kavi said...

I almost jumped with a 'me too' ! My south indian name gets...mispronounced by the rest of the world !

Sometimes, the mispronounced word sounds obscene. Now, how about that..?

Pearl said...

Hi, Kavi.
You know, I've wondered about that, about how often we (any "we") try to pronounce something only to find it an obscenity in another language...
I love unusual names, although I'm not fond of "made up" first names, as I have a hard time remembering them...

Anonymous said...

I knew I like you! My maiden name also starts with a Z. We were a very select group...those of us with last name letters occurring after the all too common 'T'. I hated the R's, S's, and N's as well. I married a D - which I love. My kids just asked me the other day if I were to get divorced would I keep my married name. Absolutely! I've had enough of the Z name to last a lifetime. Which makes me wonder...maybe we are related. I think your last name is Zippoxia-Yubaqualski. Big points there missy! :)

Susan said...

This particular dumb-ass was checking her son's IMs. There was a really interesting, okay ODD, user name sending him harmless messages. I started a conversation, asked why he/she chose that user name and the retard in me was revealed. It was his surname and I'm a total snooping boob. BUSTED!

SassyTwoSocks said...

You know my parents were hippies. I GUARANTEE, PROMISE, SWEAR you would make fun of my middle name if you knew what it was.... no joke.

Ann's Rants said...

I remember another Ann in grade school and her last name was Hrnczrek or something close. Why didn't someone 'help' them at Ellis Island like everyone else? And yes, come to Madison and have drinks with Da Biyyyatchin Wife and I. Yes, you, too Braja. Get on that damn plane.

Sarah Von said...

I feel your pain so hard, dude. I, too, have a long, two word-ed, very ethnic name. To add insult to injury, the first bit of my last name isn't capitolized, so I'm constantly getting filed under the wrong letter.

It's my cross to bear. Some people have debilitating diseases, I have a two word, german last name. I'm kind of a martyr.

Pearl said...

Hi, Sweet Cheeks!
Well at least you went from a "Z" to a "D". I went from a "Z" to a "V".
I told my husband that I was just using him to move my way up the alphabet...

Hi, Susan.
That reminds me of a woman I talked to once who was sure that the skateboarder Natas had made up that name, that is was backward for "Satan". While it may spell "satan" backwards, it is a real name!

Hi, Sassy.
Hmmm. I'm thinking "Starlight" or "Peace Child" or "Brotherhood of Man", something like that?

Hi, Ann.
That's in Madison, right? Or was it Eau Claire? Will be in that neighborhood in April. :-) Do they make good Bloodies there?

Hi, Sarah.
Ah, the fates of the "vons", "vens" and "vans". :-)

KMcJoseph said...

I had a friend with the last name of Dzwancavatch.

I was playing scrabble on my blackberry today and my first 7 letters were I,E,I,E,Z,X,E. I am not kidding. Bastards.

Lilly's Life said...

Very funny post. Yes I am always asked where I originally come from too with my surname. Except it only has 5 letters in it and every time I say it I have to spell it. And worse still it wouldnt be worth too much on the scrabble board. The hilarious thing is I always kept my maiden name and my ex's surname was Smith.

The Retired One said...

Well, I have another problem. Being part Finnish, they have nothing on Vanna White...all their names have double vowels. So if you have a last name with any vowels,there are usually two in a row. Like John Hill would be John Hiill. So, you can imagine placing an order. It goes like this:
"This is John Hiill.I would like to place an order".
"Ok John, is it spelled H-i-l-l?"
"No,it is spelled: H-I-I-L-L"
"Oh, sorry, so it is "H-I-L-L?"
No, it is spelled with a double I"
"A double I? Oh..so it is spelled:
"NO,damn it..There are TWO I's"
"Oh, so it is "H-I-L-L-I?"
No wonder so many Finn's changed their name to MAKI.(which means HILL in Finnish)...
So,for scrabble, you now can use an extra vowel. (Just tell them it is the Finnish version). *wink*

The Retired One

Melissa B. said...

Hi there! Visiting from BPOTW. Love your blog; you're quite the Scribbler! Listen, I'm up for a Pretty Neat blogging award, and I made the final cut. Yup, I'm campaigning for votes...please come by and check it out if you have a chance!

BrotherO said...

I've always liked the idea of going back to names like John son of Joseph the Blacksmith or Ben the Tailor. I guess the only problem would be when your father is a drunk or a convicted deviant behavior offender. Okay, nevermind. Maybe numbers.

Braja said...

Hmmm....I wonder what got you thinkin' 'bout this?

I'm sorry to bore you but my surname is the "Smith" of Denmark, Sorensen. But in fact it's not even my surname. I stole it. Really. My husband's name is Sorensen, true. His father is Danish. But his parents were divorced and his hateful vindictive mother, who is of German descent, burned the Sorensen name to ashes and changed her childrens' names to Werneburg, which is awful (and I'm sorry if there are any Werneburgs reading this, though I doubt it). So I refused that and took Sorensen. But not legally. So it's not totally a made up name. But it's not my name. Though it is. My passport is in my maiden name. And my bank accounts are in my previous married name. I'm confused.

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

Yep, I feel your pain! My maiden name was short, easy to spell and impossible to mispronounce. My married name is a 10 letter monstrosity that I hated from the beginning. I wouldn't have even used it if my husband hadn't threatened not to marry me if I didn't accept it.

My son learned how to spell it before he was even three because he had heard me spell it so many times. I totally dread the first day of a new job because I spend half the time teaching my new co-workers to pronounce it.

That's why I like having an unusual first name and I usually use just it my itself in most situations.

ugich konitari said...


My last name is a common noun made into a proper noun and then pronounced in a pretentious French accent.

But sometimes overzealous types enter my last name as 10/10/2008 or whatever happens to be the "Date"

I'm just glad scrabble has no numbers and at the end of the day, I wouldnt want to be Zbgnieuw Brezinski or something like that anyway.......

June Saville said...

I was once married to a man named John Smith - now that was a responsibility!
June in Oz

swenglishexpat said...

Very funny! But you are more than touching on a subject that I also am confronted with often. With a Swedish surname, which includes a 'j' next to a certain consonant, often throws the Brits (or any other English speaker). The way some people try to work around it is sometimes a hilarious comedy show. I normally let them squirm for a little while before I put them out of their misery with a hint how to pronounce it. On the other hand it is a great ice-breaker on the phone and could almost serve as a flirty chat-up line!

TFKoP said...

Just be careful playing Scrabble because it can be quite dangerous...you could lose an I.

ba dum dum.

EskimoBob said...

Oh Pearl -

You seemed so wise. Now I've come crashing back from the ethereal juxtaposition {artsy word} and [five syllable word]to reality.

Taken verbatim from the rules and statutes of the game play set up rules of Scrabble by Hasbro:

"All words labeled as a part of speech (including those listed of foreign origin, and as archaic, obsolete, colloquial, slang, etc.) are permitted with the exception of the following: words always capitalized
abbreviations, prefixes and suffixes standing alone, words requiring a hyphen or an apostrophe."