In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
That’s easy for her to say. Her mother didn’t name her Ima Hogg or Candy Cane. Juliet might’ve sung a different tune if her last name was Passwater and Romeo’s was Horsepucky.
I’m not kidding, those are real names. Okay, I’ll admit that I made up Horsepucky. The other names, however, belong to living, breathing people . . . or maybe dead ones who used to breathe.
My nickname is Cindy. As a kid, I was certain it was easily spelled. My dream world shattered after I got married and a letter arrived addressed to Rose. Rose? There wasn’t another Cindy around, much less a Rose blooming nearby. My husband found it so humorous he called me that for years. You can imagine my son’s confusion when he’d find a Christmas present under the tree addressed to Rose.
Mail began arriving with other crazy variations. Once, an envelope arrived addressed to Sin. I hid it before my hubby could show it to everyone in church.
The worst goof was on a jacket. I took medical technology courses in college and class members decided to have personalized, matching jackets. That posed a problem. Money was in short supply for my family, and we had this weird compulsion about having food on the table at regular intervals, rather than buying frivolous things like a jacket. Fortunately, a check arrived for my birthday, just covering the cost.
I ordered the jacket and waited impatiently for its arrival. The day finally came. We opened the box in class. The class president read the name on each jacket while handing them out. Coming to the last one, he called, “Cinky.”
It took a minute before I realized that one was mine. I groaned as I took it.
At home that night, we conferred about what to do. Since the jacket was personalized, it wasn’t returnable. Was there any way to fix the goof? We considered putting tape over it, or cutting the name out entirely. Finally, my hubby hit on a solution. “If you take one of those sewing ripper thingies, you could pull out the first name and just leave the last name.”
My son looked at it closely and with the wisdom of an eight-year-old said, “Or you could pull out the ‘C’ and we could call you Inky.” I wasn’t about to follow his suggestion, but I was glad he said it-I needed the laugh.
My name surely couldn’t get more goofed than Cinky, right? Years later, I submitted an article with a by-line using my initials, C.L., rather than my full name. Unfortunately, I signed the email as Cindy. On the day of publication, my first name-as listed at the publisher’s website-read, “Cidny.”
We’re all supposed to forgive. I did. However, it dawned on me that some people might read the “c” as a “k” sound. In which case, my name would be pronounced “Kidney.”
Ouch, Kidney-the ultimate insult. I can tolerate being a Rose by any other name, but a Kidney? I don’t think so. If I have to choose, I’ll go with my son’s suggestion-there’s no doubt I’d be much better off as an Inky.
(Disclaimer: This true story is based on a real experience in the author’s life. Although she has used artistic license to present the story in a humorous manner, the essential facts of the incident have been maintained and recounted as she remembers them.)