Do you ever dread ordering things over the phone because of your name? How about introducing yourself to a stranger at a loud bar? No? You have no problem with this? Your name must be something hip, like, “Purple” or “Cucumber”. For us po’folk who have a name that sounds similar to another name, introducing ourselves can be quite aggravating, whether it be over the phone or via face-to-face confrontation. You’ll either have to spell it out for the other person or simply sit through a long list of them spitting out names before you go all, “CONGRATU-FUCKIN-LATIONS! YOU FINALLY GOT IT RIGHT. BYE.” on them. And, with a name like “Manny” you can only imagine which ones I get called (actually, some of them are pretty unbelievable). I’ve been called Danny, Mandy (do I look like a fucking Mandy to you?!), Randy, Manti, probably Aaron or Chris; it’s stupid. My name’s been misheard so many times, I probably should just make up a name the next time I order something (“What’s that? You want my name? Oh, yeah, it’s Ambulance”). Every so often, when my name is heard and spelled correctly, I want to give the other person a couple bites of my meal as a trophy, but then I think back to the pain and depression I get when people mess it up and I rescind my offer. Up until a couple weeks ago, when I was given a nice surprise…
It was a brisk, fall Sunday morning in Northern Virginia. The birds were chirping, the leaves were falling, and one of my roommates and I were on our way to a local Wingstop (the perfect way to ease the pain of being a Redskins fan). Now, kids from my high school have been going to this place for years, so we’re pretty much one big’ole wings loving family, but there have been some new employee additions, which meant the girl at the register didn’t know me. Seeing as how I hadn’t been to Wingstop in quite sometime, I wasn’t going to let the chances of her mishearing my name spoil my 100% grass-fed, certified-A chicken wings. I swallowed my pride, placed my order, was told it would take 14 minutes, folded up my receipt and sat down.
14 minutes later
At this point I’m starting to get antsy. I take my receipt out of my pocket to see what time I placed my order (don’t give me a time and not stick to your word, god damn it), already embracing myself for the “MANDY” I’m going to read at the top of the receipt, and that’s when I saw it. I froze. My eyes got wide, like the first time I ever saw a naked woman in the movies (not like when you’re watching said movie with your parents, that’s usually when you pull the, “is someone at the door?” card). I can’t believe what I’m reading. Right under the time of the order, which was MORE THAN 14 MINUTES AGO, was a name. A name I’m well aware of. A name I have never seen before in these situations. A name that almost brought a tear to my eye: Manuel.
No, Charlie Day, that IS my name! Can you believe it?! I certainly can’t!
After my excitement wore off, I started to freak out a little bit. Was this a woman I met in another life? How did she know my real name? Did she travel back in time to let me know everything was going to be alright? So many questions left unanswered. I didn’t even care that I told her my name was “Manny” and she put “Manuel”, so, technically speaking, she still got it wrong. I was in complete shock, yet it was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Yeah, I’ve graduated college; witnessed the Red Sox win the World Series not once, not twice, but three times in my life; traveled to islands off the coast of Portugal; but, this? This is what dreams are made of.
I learned a pretty valuable lesson that day: when people ask for my name, I should use “Manuel”. That, or seek out the Spanish people when placing my order. They almost always get it correct.