Sunday, October 11, 2009

That Which We Call a Rose . . .

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.” 

(Hide red face behind a ten-year-old magazine.)

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