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, July 15, 2014

That’s Not a Real Last Name, Is It?

“Please spell your last name for the court reporter.”

It is my first day on the job, a per diem assignment replacing a woman purportedly skiing in Colorado. 

My hands fly over the keys.  Please spell your last name for the court reporter, I write.

I have trained for almost four years for this.  I feel good, I feel ready.  My hands, poised mid-air, await the man’s last name.

The man on the stand begins to speak.  “P-R-Z-Y-J—“ 

Wait, what?  WHAT?! 

P-R-Z-Y-J-what?! 

I look up in time to see Diane, a fellow reporter, in the very back of the room.  Our eyes meet and she grins, lifting her cup of coffee.

Welcome to court reporting!

Frozen.  I am frozen.  My hands remain over the keyboard, mid-air.  I feel my mouth go dry.  I’m pretty sure that I can feel my pupils dilate.

I have never heard those letters, in that order, in my life.

O, Wisconsin, you little Polish-immigrant state you.

None of this was covered in school, where we took mock testimony from Mr. Ronald Peterson and Mr. Jose Garcia.  I curse inwardly as the name of the man on the stand goes on for what seems like an alphabet worth, ending, eventually, in “ski”. 

Panicked, I write:  SOMETHING-SKI.  HIS NAME IS TODD SOMETHING-SKI.  HOLY BUCKETS SPEAK TO CLERK OF COURT IMMEDIATELY.

The next 20 minutes are a blur. My confidence shattered, I am ready to weep.  The integrity of the verbatim report has been compromised.

I drop my head, close my eyes, and focus on the speakers with the grim intensity I normally reserve for reclaiming overflowing toilets and cleaning up after vomiting children.

At the end of it, I open my eyes, sweaty and shaken.  The attorneys are packing up, the judge is gone, the Clerk is gone – and Diane is in front of me.

She hands me a scrap of paper with a name written on it.  “Przyjcymski,” she says.  “It’s a common name around here.”

I take the paper gratefully. 

My first friend in the court system grins at me.  “You a drinkin’ gal, Pearl?”


And I allow that I could be talked into a drink, maybe. 

26 comments:

joeh said...

Extra funny!

Surprisingly enough, Przyjcymski was going to be my pen name, but then the self-publishing firm was going to charge me extra, so I decided against it.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

West side of the state, right? I could never even pronounce, let alone spell those names.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Remembering this, does it help with adjustment to the current 'new' job? And does the being persuaded to imbibe help further??!!!

I know that without either, we wouldn't be getting such entertainment... YAM xx

Should Fish More said...

Back when notes for charts and records were dictated onto tape, and the transcriptions department would type them up, I used to make up words, just for fun.

Delores said...

Hey...you only had to type it once...that poor guy is stuck with it for life.

Shelly said...

Way back when I was in school working part time in retail, a regular customer came in to pick up a layaway. I couldn't remember her name, and thought I'd finesse my way through it by asking her how to spell her last name because, "I know it's a tricky spelling." She looked at me carefully and then slowly spelled out, "J-O-N-E-S".

Simply Suthern said...

Why waste a perfectly good vowel in the middle of all that.

Joanne Noragon said...

They're all Polish around here, except the Irish, and even the ones named Johnston claim to be Polish. I quit paying attention. Fortunately, it's not part of my job.

Daisy said...

Haha! They need to buy a vowel or maybe two! :D

Ray Denzel said...

Panic, I know it well 😏

Chicken said...

Good name for a cocktail...

jenny_o said...

With a first day like that, things could only get better!

Dawn@Lighten Up! said...

If you weren't a drinkin girl, you quickly became one!!

Geo. said...

One of my kids' elementary school teachers shortened her name to Przyjemski after many students went insane.

Hilary said...

And it's probably pronounced something like Precious. A friend's Polish is spelled with lots of Zs (not the sleepy kind) and sounds nothing like it looks. You've earned that drink.

the walking man said...

Messing up a court reporters ability to transcribe my testimony never stopped a fine or kept me out of jail;unfortunately.

Elephant's Child said...

Ouch. And I wonder which of the name 'we' consider common pose similar challenges for Mr P?

Gigi said...

I went to school with a lot of folks whose names ended in "ski" and was smug in the knowledge that MY name was so normal....then I married an Italian. I swear it took me three years to figure out how to spell it.

River said...

Hah! My own maiden name starts with PRZYB and ends in SKI.
I was rather glad to be rid of that mouthful when I married.

VEG said...

One of my first exec assistant moments was some guy calling for my boss, who was in a meeting and the guy saying it was very important he call him immediately after the meeting and said his name and abruptly hung up. And it was a name that sounded to me like "bakamemaneoacakaeiagpaleao" or might as well have. No idea what it was and he didn't bother giving a number as I assume he and boss were well known to each other. The terror of that moment and running around the other asssistants going "Do you know of anyone important with a name that sounds like gibberish?". I understand your terror Miss P. :)

Slamdunk said...

Oh wow--well done then.

On a related note, sometimes when I have a complex name like that and someone just starts spelling the word, I have to stop them. If I can't see it written first, I want to hear it a couple of times or I am prone to mistakes just writing the letters.

Daisy said...

That Diane is a good friend Pearl! I hope you bought her a drink ... perhaps a G and T?

Val S said...

It makes you wonder why they didn't just change their name to Perkins. Their children would thank them.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Great story and perfectly told. My stomach immediately went into knots along with yours. (But sooo funny!)

Jo-Anne Meadows said...

What type of name is "Przyjcymski" some strange type of name thats for sure

Drake Sigar said...

11 letters? F that noise.