Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Will the Real Jennie Please Stand Up?

In the first grade, I had a family friend in the class. His name – albeit his ‘blog name’ is slightly tweaked – was Benny Davis. Let’s remember that my name is Jennie David. Jennie, Benny, Davis, David – it’s confusing. We were watching a movie in class, ‘Hercules’ if I do recall, when our teacher started whispering, “Jennie, Jennie.” I turned around, only to hear her say, “Benny, Benny.” Wrong name, I assumed, and turned back to the Greek tragedy Disney-style. “Jennie,” she said again, I looked, but only to once more hear “Benny.” This went on for a good few minutes, me turning around then Benny, until she finally said “Jennie and Benny! Both of you!”

That’s one thing when my name is mixed up with someone else’s. But it’s another when it’s mixed up with my own name. I get Jennifer, Jenny (spelled the wrong way!), and most hatefully, Jeanie. It’s just Jennie – I’m named after great-grandmothers who were just Jennie’s with the ‘ie’. Bottom line: it’s just Jennie.

But no, that’s not what happens. And interestingly much more in Halifax compared to Boston, but every time I go into a medical setting they call out for Jeanie. JEANIE. Not Jennie, Jeanie. Sometimes I correct them, sometimes I just roll my eyes silently and go with it. I want to say, “No, try again. Spell my name back to me and try again. Tell me when you find the ‘a’.”

It’s admittedly a silly thing to be annoyed about. Maybe it bothers me that they’re not paying enough attention to notice the spelling of my name, or the fact that it makes me sound about 1,000 years old. And maybe it feeds in to my massive annoyance of people misspelling Crohn’s as Chron’s, oh the very typing of the misspelling is enough to drive me crazy! It’s a hard disease name to spell, I get it, but learn to spell it, especially if you’re a doctor. My GP at the student health services spelled it wrong on my GI referral and I silently said to myself, “Thank you very much, I’ve lost all faith in you.” If you can’t spell my disease, I don’t trust you to treat me.

I had a friend whose mom used to get a lot of telemarketer calls. If they mispronounced her name, she would say, “Nope, she doesn’t live here.” One day when I’ve worked up the courage and frustrated enough with my alter ego Jeanie getting all of the attention, I’m going to say, “Nope, Jeanie isn’t here for bloodwork. But JENNIE is.”

It’s six little letters, two n’s, and ‘ie’, and no ‘a’. Will the fake Jeanie please leave and the real Jennie stand up?


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