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 Beck. Rose Beck? There weren’t any other Becks around, much less a Rose blooming nearby. My husband, Russ, found it so humorous he called me that for years. You can imagine my son’s confusion when he’d find a Christmas present addressed to Rose.
Mail began arriving with other crazy variations. Once, an envelope arrived addressed to Sin Beck. I hid it before Russ could show it to everyone in the ward.
The worst goof was on a jacket. I took medical technology courses in college and class members decided to have personalized, matching jackets. Money was in short supply for my family. We had this weird compulsion about having food on the table at regular intervals. Fortunately, a check arrived for my birthday, just covering the cost. I agonized over requesting my first name or my full name on the jacket.
After deciding on my full name (which would hold up in a court of law in case the jacket ever got stolen), I awaited its arrival. The day 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 Beck.”
It took a minute before I realized that 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, praying over it, or cutting the name out entirely. Finally, Russ 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, Dave, 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. Within minutes the seam ripper did its work and for twenty years after I wore a jacket with "C (space, space, space, space, space) Beck" on it.
My name surely couldn’t get more goofed than Cinky, right? Years later, I submitted an article with a byline of C. L. Beck. Unfortunately, I signed the email as Cindy. On the day of publication, the byline at the publisher’s website read, “Cidny Beck.”
Latter-day Saints are 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.
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This blog sponsored by Your LDS Neighborhood, and originally posted on 05-06-08 at Write Up My Alley 1. Please visit there to read comments.