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.
Just means that everyone will love you, France is Bacon.
I understand your plight, Fran. My wife’s name is Helene. I would guess that 80% of people meeting her for the first time, (many for the second and third time) mispronounce her name. A good example is when I pull up to the drive thru window at the pharmacy. I switch off the ignition and make sure there are no distracting noises coming from the vehicle. I distinctly and slowly say her name. When they repeat her name back to me, it’s usually Helen, Helena, Elaine or Ailene. In junior high, I rode the school bus with a girl named Helene. Don’t ever recall having difficulty with her name.
Related to that, is dealing with the relatively new counter girl at the lumberyard I have had an account with for over 30 years. She had no idea that Bill is a nickname for William, or that Bob is short for Robert. When I wrote a check for my monthly statement recently, she said that I had made a mistake. The amount line aid “fifteen hundred and something”. She said it should be one thousand five hundred …… When I said that they are the same, she gave me a deer in the headlights look and had to verify it with a fellow employee.
At a very young age, my mother explained the difference to me between Francis and Frances. Don’t recall ever having a problem with it. As to the math issues with the twenty somethings to those in their mid-fifties, let’s just say I could write a book.
Insufficient compensation? Anyone with an iteration of the name Frank can get a coupon for a free pack of beef franks.