It’s All Relative, Isn’t it?


In my golf league last week, I was in the group with Linda N.  This is my third season in the league, so I have gotten to know the very nice Linda a little bit, but have avoided saying her last name, because it is a little hard to pronounce.

But, since we were playing together, I talked to her about the pronunciation and practiced it while we were playing.

After I had screwed up several attempts to pronounce the name, I said to Linda, “Have you ever remembered some guy named something like “Bill Smith” you knew when you were single and thought how much easier life would have been if you had married him?” 

She laughed and said, “No.  My maiden name was Russian … this one is like “Smith” compared to it!”

It really is all relative, isn’t it?

And using the name Smith as the prototypical “easy” name, reminds me that I used to deal with a truck salesman in Canada with that last name but it was spelled “Smythe”.  So, even though his name sounded simple, he ended up explaining it too.

5 Responses to It’s All Relative, Isn’t it?

  1. Hilary says:

    I have a friend whose surname is Smit. Despite knowing each other for about 17 years now, she will always add an S to my surname when referring to me. It’s not a name that one would naturally add an S to (as you might remember), but she habitually did. The funny thing is, she gets very frustrated at those who naturally remember her name as Smith. Adding that H really rankles her.

  2. Beth says:

    My maiden name wasn’t very exotic, and my married name is even more boring! But I’ve always thought my married name does sound good with my given first/middle names, and I’m proud to carry it! Even though it’s such a simple name, we do have to clarify the spelling since there are two common spellings of it.

  3. Sandra says:

    Hilary — Isn’t human nature funny — we tend to be so protective and particular about our own names, but not nearly as careful about others’ names! Maybe you would get your friend’s attention is you started putting an “s'” on the end of her name — Smits! 🙂

    Beth — I’ve always liked the family name I married into too, but there are a few variations in how it can be spelled also. I guess it’s just a fact of life that we will have to spell our names and be sure to pronounce them clearly if we want people to get them right. And even then we have to be prepared that there will be people who are consistently wrong! (See Hilary’s comment!) 🙂

  4. Sleepless in OL says:

    Having a surname that can be spelled different ways can always be helpful in the business world. When I receive a phone call that I am interested in reading what is sent I spell my name correctly. When I need to I let the caller after I same my name, spell it wrong and then I know when I get the mail what to open first and what to …uhmmm… save for the recycle bin.

  5. Sandra says:

    Sleepless — Verrry clever! You are one smart cookie! 🙂

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