A name is something that defines you. It leaves your mark on the world. Without it, you’re just a face within a sea of other faces. Shakespeare once asked, “What’s in a name?” Let me tell you, Will, there’s a heck of a lot in a name - but it only becomes apparent to you when no one seems to know yours.
It all started a few years back when I first began working as a waitress. I walk up the stone walkway, through the glass doors, into the bright lobby, and up to the smiling hostess dressed in black. I ask for an application. Then comes the mistake that would haunt me for years to come.
On the crisp white paper are the words “Full Name.” Since I’ve never gone by my full given name in my entire life, I nearly write my preferred name, “Christy.” However, I figure the words “Full Name” imply that they mean business. After all, I don’t want to confuse the IRS and go to jail just because I don’t give them my birth name. Reluctantly, I write “Christina.”
Soon, the nicely dressed manager comes out to grant me an interview. He is a very nice-looking man and I must make a good impression because he offers me the job right away. The only thing that doesn’t seem to leave much of an impression is my name. Though I make quite sure to tell him, somehow I can tell it just isn’t going to stick.
Here’s what I’ve learned in recent years. People very rarely listen when others introduce themselves. Consequently, they need a “cheat sheet” afterwords, such as a name tag. Unfortunately, at this particular job, we weren’t so lucky to have such a “cheat sheet.” So the manager forgets my name. Naturally he does what any normal person would do and looks at the application to remind himself. Thus, the Christina Catastrophe is born.
Now the only person who has met me is calling me by the wrong name. The problem only escalates after that. I introduce myself to the other employees, who naturally don’t listen, and I have no name tag to help them out. So what do they do? They look on the schedule, which the manager made from the dreaded application. Occasionally, someone remembers that I had in fact said “Christy” and the heavens shine down for a brief instant. Of course, then that person hears everyone else calling me something else, starts to think that maybe they heard me wrong, and the next day they become a convert to the pack of Christina-callers.