Monday, August 06, 2007

In which the Loveless Cynic hates on America

not that I don't do this all the time. But I took my computer to Best Buy to get more RAM. In the process, my last name underwent a series of metamorphoses.

Let's say my name to start out with was, oh, Kawasaki. For some reason, my mother's account has her listed as Kasasaki. And by the time I got my computer two days later, the name on the folder with the RAM card in it read Kasakawa. Making it all but unrecognizable to me.

Perhaps this isn't such a big deal for most of you. But I'm oversensitive and irritable. I have a longish and somewhat difficult, somewhat ethnic last name, I should be used to this. But it still bothers me every time.

There are enough people in America with ethnic last names, we should be able to get them right.


Magniloquence said...

Oy. That's annoying. And your name is all phonetic-like and everything. I can't imagine there being anything in there to mess up. If nothing else, they should be able to sound it out....

I don't have that particular problem, just the one where people want to take my perfectly ordinary, geographic name and mix up the letters at the end. Let's call me "Kenya"... somehow, people always want to make it "Keyna" or "Keyan" or something like that, and then people can't figure out why I'm rolling my eyes at them because they should know this. I am a popular vacation spot. It shouldn't be that hard to remember.

Lizard said...

people want to transpose the letters of my name all the time. my mom has a hard time with her italian last name, too. at least it makes it easy to spot the telemarketers.l44

lovelesscynic said...

Mag, hee hee, a popular vacation spot. I like that.

Lizard, it is true though isn't it? An unusual name can be a blessing sometimes. Whenever someone on the phone mispronounces a name, I always feel tempted to shout "Hey Mom, it's some person who doesn't know us on the phone."

Thin Black Duke said...

I feel you. It's a matter of respect for me. Now I have the most Anglo name ever, so no one ever messes it up here in the States, but that look of dread that I see on a kid's face on the first day of class as I'm doing roll call and she expects me to call her "en-guy-en" always saddens me.

I mean really, if you're unfamiliar with a name is it that hard to just ask how to spell or pronounce it?

Thin Black Duke said...

Heh, speaking of having the most Anglo name ever, it does make me chuckle when people that only know me by name (potential employers, for instance) meet me for the first time and are visibly shocked to find a Black man staring at them. I can just see them thinking, "Damnit, if you were named Tyrone or Malik, I would have known better than to call you in for an interview."

lovelesscynic said...

TBD, I think at this point, I wouldn't even mind if they could just spell it correctly. Pronunciation aside, you could just copy. I think my favorite is Kawaski, where I become vaguely Polish.

Your story about job interviews reminds me of a Japanese American one, where some people named Ohara make a reservation at a hotel, and when they get there the staff assumed they were O'Haras, and so are chagrined to discover that their guests aren't actually white.

Magniloquence said...

*snorts* Yeah. I can relate to a lot of those stories. People who haven't heard my name yet (like the people who call me at work) tend to do verbal doubletakes when they hear it or see me. I guess I don't sound dark enough for them.

My sister ... let's call her Tennessee ... finally just gave up and renamed herself "Lisa" for when she goes to Starbucks and stuff. She doesn't even try to get them to spell her name (which was, y'know, the name of a famous place, and a TV show or two, and at least one starlet ...). It's her middle name that really gives people fits.

That's what we call her by most of the time anyway, but I don't really expect anyone to get that that "soo" sound at the front of it is actually a "tsu." She looks Hispanic (or possibly Polynesian), so people don't really reach for the 'hey, your name must be Japanese' bag when they're trying to spell her name.