Friday, January 29, 2010

What's in a Name?

My husband and son (brother and best-friend's husband) are named "John." It's a pretty common name. If we're out in public, in Target for instance, and John's on one end of the aisle and I'm on the other and I shout "John," it is likely that at least one other guy will turn towards me thinking I'm looking for him. If I call for my husband in a very crowded venue -- say the St. X game at Nippert Stadium -- at least four other guys will turn around thinking I'm calling to them. Because my name is somewhat unusual, I've never had the experience of someone calling for me and finding it's not me they want but the other "Cynthia." Until now.

There's "Cynthia" in one of the other classes, so when all three classes are together on Saturdays we're in the same class. This other Cynthia is about 21 years old, small and thin, missing a couple of her front teeth and has hair of many colors often including at least one fantasy color. She has a strong Appalachian accent and it's difficult for me to understand her speech.

Last Saturday Cynthia and I were working in the same class room. Because Cynthia is at the end of Phase I and knows a lot of stuff, students from her regular class kept calling out to her from across the room to come help them with the assignment (which was foils). Every time I'd hear her name, I would turn around. After about three times I was getting really irrattated but would then think "so this is why it drives John so crazy." It kept happening all day, and every single time I'd respond by turning my body toward the call and having that quizzical look on my face that says "Yes? Can I help you?"

Yesterday the classes were together again for a special lecture. Seeing the other Cynthia reminded Ruby and Tomeesha of the hilarious joke they were playing on me last Saturday. Once they noticed that I turned around every time my name was called, they started doing it on purpose. You really have to hear them tell the story to fully appreciate it, but I'll try: "Miss Cynthia, it was so funny. You turnin' around every time we call yo name and looking all like 'what?' Then we'd be actin all like we don't know who's calling you. And you getting all aggravated. Then we'd wait a minute and do it again. We was weak. It was so funny."

I remember when I first enrolled, but hadn't started school yet, a friend of mine told me "you're going to need a beautician name." Kind of like a stripper name. And it's weird but most of the ladies' names do end in a vowel or a "y." Along with the - ishas and - tricas, the Brittneys and Ashleys, "Cynthia" really kind of fits right in after all.

In advertising and marketing I noticed that there were a lot of men with very powerful jobs named "Lou" or "Ed." At one point I was working for a CMO named "Ed," (Lands' End) a CEO named "Eddie" (Kmart) and my actual boss-boss Ed Meyer (the former grand poo-ba of Grey Global Group). I'd call them "Ed, Ed & Eddie" -- you know, that Nickelodeon

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