I must admit that I haven’t always liked my given name. One of the reasons I have it is (ulp) my paternal grandmother, an Italian immigrant whose name was Francesca. Another is that I was born in Saint Francis Xavier Hospital in the Bronx. It’s a rather off-putting thing to be named after a hospital; it suggests that either your life will be dedicated to cleaning up after other people’s disasters…or that it will be one.
Then there are all the people who insist upon calling me Frank. I always demur – “Please call me Fran” – but to no avail. It doesn’t matter how often I protest that particular cognomen; it comes back over and over, never to be laid permanently to rest.
But here I am, having borne Francis for 71 years now. I suppose I’m resigned to it, to the puzzled frowns of new acquaintances (“Isn’t that a girl’s name?”), and to the innumerable times I’ve had to correct someone else’s spelling of it. Sheesh! You’d think that being hung with a spelling-challenge monstrosity like Porretto would be torment enough.
But there it is: the name I bear. I’ve seldom found any reason to think it funny or otherwise entertaining…until today. Courtesy of our favorite Graybeard:
Teachers and amateur didacts: Watch your diction! The minds of the young are delicate things, all too easily led astray.