Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Name Bigots

I finally got the Christmas cards stuffed, addressed and stamped. 

One of my colleagues came by & noticed my labels.  He said "I can't even pronounce half these names".

I didn't say "that's because you are an idiot" but he probably read it in my thought bubble. 

"Mata . . masa. . what???"

Matsubyashi.  Mat-soo-buy-ah-shi.  Break it into syllables.  It's really not too hard.

"This one is hard.  It has 2 i's at the end."

"I know.  Pronounce both of them.  Yakushijii.  Ya-koo-shi-ji-i.  Japanese names are pretty phonetic."

"So this one is pronounced Koo-oo-sh. . . what the hell?"

"It's Kuusisto.  Koo-sis-to.  And it's not Japanese.  It's Finnish."

"Okay -- then this one is Hway?"

"No.  That's Chinese. Hui.  It's pronounced Huey."

"I thought you said they were phonetic."

"I said Japanese names are phonetic.  Chinese names aren't always."

"Like this one?  How do you say this one?  NGAH?"

"Actually, she pronounces it Eng.  Ng is generally pronounced Eng."

"Don't you have any white friends?"

"Yeah.  Kuusisto is white.  He's Finnish.  They tend to be white."

"Wow.  Who do you  know in Hawaii?"

"That's Greg's Uncle".

"Oh.  This his first name?"

"Toku? Yep.  Uncle Toku."


"Uh, Homer?  I gotta take this call."

My friend Homer is a name bigot.  He figures if he's never seen it before, it's weird.  When I was a kid, if you had a name like Homer in our school, you'd get beat up.  In South Texas, Homer is a perfectly normal name.  So is Beto.  And Servando.  Narciso.  Guadalupe.  All very nice names, but not so common in Minnesota. 

So please.  When I introduce you to Homer, don't say "HOMER?!!  Like Homer Simpson? Weird!"


  1. Poor Homer...he sounds like many people that I know...in Georgia. I had a schoolmate named Tater!

  2. I can butcher names with the best of 'em. I worked international logistics for many years so I can slay Chinese names with ease.

    Now German names, for some reason, don't seem to give me a problem. :)

    -Dave Liddy

  3. Yes, the name thing? Ridic. But can we also talk about the fact that he was RIFLING THROUGH YOUR PERSONAL CHRISTMAS CARDS? Personal bubble, Homer. Personal bubble.

  4. @Nicki - Totally. He has NO boundaries. And his breath ain't the freshest. I hope he doesn't read me!


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