At the mall this morning I walked into a shop, where the clerk behind the counter was speaking on the phone. Her name, according to her name tag, is Theresa Thomas. I stood before her and she held up her hand to indicate that she was almost finished with her call, so I did what anyone would do. I eavesdropped.
As it turns out, Ms. Thomas was talking to someone who wanted her name. This is how her half of the conversation went:
Her: Yes, that’s right.
Her: It’s Thomas. Right. T H O M A S.
pause while I thought to myself, Couldn’t they have figured that out? She pronounced the ‘th’ like one would say the word ‘throw.’
Her: Thanks. Bye.
Her: (to me) Can I help you? (or at least that’s what I think she said. I was distracted by the ingenuity of this woman’s parents and the fantasy of how she might pronounce her first name.)
Her: Can I help you?
Me: OH, yes…
And so it went.
Thufferin’ thuccotash, some people, eh?
This brought to mind a place I worked as a secretary/receptionist, long, long ago in the time before children. The company’s salesman, Mike Daoust, insisted on making sure everyone knew how his name was properly pronounced.
“‘Doe,'” he told people. “Just like a deer.”
So one day I was sitting at my desk, shuffling papers and trying to act like I was working, when a man walked in the door looking for Mike.
“Can I tell him who’s here to see him?” I asked the broad, red-faced man who streamed with sweat across from me at the desk.
My finger poised over the intercom, I couldn’t believe my luck.
I smiled and pressed the button, “Mike, there’s someone here to see you.”
“Who is it?” he asked.
“It’s Ray, a drop of golden sun.”
I was tired of that job anyway.