I was born a Brown, a name that is only five letters long.In the twenty years that Brown was my surname, no one ever asked me how to spell it.No one ever mispronounced it.
I married a Maron.It rhymes with Baron.Another seemingly simple, five-letter name, but if I had a dime for every time I’ve had to spell those five letters over the course of this marriage, I could spend next summer in Spain.
I routinely answer to MaRON (as in Reagan), Marian (as in Robin Hood’s girlfriend),Marone (as in unknown), and Moran (as in Bugsy), etc. etc.Envelope arrive in our mailbox addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Marion, Mason, Marron, and even Narron (a common name in my part of the state).
Shakespeare said, “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet;”and I am usually patient with mispronunciations.“That’s Maron,” I will gently tell the person who has miscalled my name.“M-A-R-O-N—Maron.”On the other hand, I don't feel very sweet when a telephone solicitor says, “I’m sure the Morons will want to contribute to this worthy cause.”
Even though it’s difficult not to feel frustration and annoyance, I learned the hard way not to lose my temper.Several years ago, I entered a crowded waiting room and told the nurse my name.“That’s Maron,” I said, pronouncing the name distinctly.“M-A-R-O-N.Maron.”
Yet, ten minutes later, I heard, “Mrs. Mason?”
I could bear it no longer.“That’s MARON!” I said in icy tones as I stood to follow her into an examination room.“M. A. R. O. N.Maron.”(I did not add dammit, although I’m sure the nurse probably heard it in my voice.)
At that moment, a small white-haired woman rose from a chair in the corner of the waiting room and said, rather hesitantly, “Uh. . . excuse me?I’m Mrs. Mason.”