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. In a land full of Carlsons and Petersons, you want to know where I got a name that starts with a “Z”. Because it’s funny or something. Ha ha.
Two jobs ago, I supervised a receptionist, a simple girl from a rural town just outside a rather rural suburb of Minneapolis. 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.
One day, 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.”
She wouldn't say it, this 18-year-old Puritan, so she finally wrote it down for me.
I explained to her 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 take a 90-minute lunch and call it an hour, 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.
Then again, if we play Scrabble and proper names are allowed, I will take no prisoners.
...In Which I Introduce The Adjective "Penish"
55 minutes ago