I’ve trained for decades in the art of patiently waiting for people to butcher my name. It’s often a teacher or customer service official who has to read aloud from a list. I listen to them breeze through Daniel and Jennifer and even Dwayne, but inevitably, there’s a break in their rhythm. “James! Carrie! Karima! Stephanie! Kevin!” Pause. “Bar—” Pause. They look around the room and then look back at their list. Their confidence falters. The declarative tone applied to the names before mine gives way to a weak, interrogative stumbling:
Barry? Barrington? Baracuda? Bartuna? Bartender? Bartunda? Bartholomew? Bart? Baritone? Baritone Dave? Barathunde? Bar—? Brad!!
The person who called me Brad was engaged in the most lazy and hilarious form of wishful thinking, but all the others kind of, sort of, maybe make some sense. This experience is so common in my life that I now entirely look forward to it. Like a child on Christmas morning who hasn’t yet been told that Santa is a creation of consumer culture maintained by society to extend the myth of “economic growth,” I eagerly await the gift of any new variation the next person will invent. Can I get a Beelzebub? Who will see a Q where none exists? How about some numbers or special characters? Can I get a hyphen, underscore, forward slash? Only after letting the awkward process run its public course do I step forward, volunteering myself as the bearer of the unpronounceable label and correct them. “That’s me. It’s Baratunde.”
Sweatpants drawstring, just being in the privacy of the washing machine does not make it okay to rape the other clothing. My underwear and socks do not appreciate being forced into a three-way with you. I do not appreciate having to rescue my underwear and socks from said three-way. And don’t get all pouty and retreat into the waistband of my sweatpants – it won’t change the fact that I am mad at you.
I’ve been a fan of Allie Brosh for years and I just listened to her on NPR’s Fresh Air. It inspired me to take a closer look at her blog so I went back to the beginning and I’m reading her blog from the start. This is just one of the gems I’ve uncovered. She is so incredibly talented and I’m grateful she’s chosen to share her humor (and, sometimes, pain) with the world instead of going on to save lives or discover new medicines.