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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sorry, Aunt Mary

How many people have you known with a name that sometimes seems to not fit?

I'm convinced this common misfit problem greatly contributes to why many people have trouble remembering the names of others. When someone looks like a Jimmy, but their actual name is Eric, it takes real mental effort to displace the incorrect moniker. For me, the problem is magnified when someone with a regal or commanding demeanor is saddled with something pedestrian. Charismatic people need appropriate names: Yvonne and Sebastian definitely trump Ethel and Otto.

This gets tricky when family is involved. Growing up, I had a few cousins and a couple of uncles whose names and personas never quite meshed for me. One aunt was so wildly misnamed that I embarrassed myself more than once by calling her what fit vs. what was; my mother was not amused. And when my brother and sister-in-law selected my oldest nephew's name, I realized his son's name actually fit my brother pretty well. Maybe not as good a fit as his actual name, but if someone mistakenly called my brother by his first born's name it wouldn't surprise me at all.

For those who would argue our given names are the perfect fit, I can offer no reasonable refutation. At the same time, somehow I doubt that I'm alone on this.    

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