What’s in a name?

Baseball season has finally come to an end. At least, it has for my two oldest sons. They got their first mitts, learned a thing or two about fielding a grounder and holding a bat, and looked forward to the snack at the end of each game.  Of course, the torrential rains we saw this spring didn’t help matters much, but I’d still say that as far as 2011 Instructional League Baseball went, it was a pretty big success.

Of course, with all that said, the Puddinpop asked me in the middle of practice last week—I was coaching the kids on making double-play throws, which is disturbing in and of itself (but that’s another post)—why the team’s coach kept calling me “Jake”.

For the record, “Jake” isn’t my name.

The thing, apparently, is that people just seem to get my name wrong.  Often.  For no good reason.  In this particular case, Coach started calling me Jake probably the first week of practice, but I didn’t notice right away.  Nope, because I have such finely honed powers of observation, realization didn’t come until a week or two later and by that point there were few enough weeks left in the season that I figured it wasn’t worth pointing out.  Because then he’d feel bad about it and then I’d feel bad for making him feel bad, and then it’d be all awkward when the kids got ice cream after the games.

Really, it just wasn’t worth the effort or discomfort.  I mean, if he was someone I’d see regularly, like my wife, bartender, or the guy at the Chinese place, obviously I’d want him to get name right.  But baseball is over now and next year there will be a different coach.

Like I’m said, though, this business doesn’t really surprise me anymore; I’m used to it by now.  Have you ever been on a cruise?  You know that room porter guy that supposed to replace the overpriced water and turned down the bed at night?  Well, the last cruise the Puddinette and I took, our porter left a very nice note at the end of our time onboard telling us how much he’d enjoyed taking care of Karen and Wilson.

To this day, we still wonder who Karen and Wilson are.  We kind of felt cheated a little that we didn’t find out about our new vacation identities until the day we were heading home.  I have little doubt that Wilson and Karen would have lived like displaced royalty onboard.  I’m pretty sure “Wilson” would have been outraged at not being invited to the the Captain’s table for dinner and “Karen” would have had a fine run of trying on expensive merchandise in the ship’s extravagant shops.

I think we would have been oil money from Texas.  I’ve always wanted to pretend I was Dick Cheney. Well, minus the shooting people part.

Even at my own wedding, I wasn’t immune.  Everyone nowadays has that magical, fairytale moment when the music is thump-thump-thumping quietly in the background and the DJ is using his best ringside boxing announcer voice (for the record, I think more receptions should start with "Let’s Get Ready to Rumbbbblllllle!”) to introduce the bridal party and happy couple.  Yep, that moment was magic for us, alright, right up to the second when our DJ—wait, I guess they’re MC’s now?—in a brain lapse of epic proportions, introduced the Puddinette and I as husband and wife for the very first time in a social setting by calling me “Chad.”

Yep, that’s right, Chad escorted my bride into my own wedding reception.

Don’t feel bad, though, all these incorrect names have an upside.  Sure, some people might get genuinely irked, potentially even loudly, at having their identities messed up by people who probably ought to know better.  Not me, though.  Because now when I forget to do something around the house, it’s obviously Chad’s fault.  Forget to take the trash out?  Dammit, Chad.  Uh oh!  Looks like Chad left the toilet seat up again.  And the Puddinette might get a little angry when I throw away a few grand on Baccarat* at the High Roller’s table,  but, really, Wilson’s just got to be Wilson. 

If only Wilson would remember to bring home a nice emerald necklace for Karen.


*For the record, I have not played, nor do I ever plan to play, Baccarat.  Also, they turn the riff raff like me away from the High Roller tables.  You know, ‘cause they’re for the high rollers.