Saturday, February 7, 2009

How Do You Spell Your Name?

Most humans seem to have an overwellming fasination with their own name. It seems that every toddler I know is capable of spelling their name. A young child may only know five letters in the alphabet, but they know the five letters used to spell their name along with the required order. I am not like most humans. I have never felt an overwellming need to properly spell my own name.

I did learn to spell my first and last name at a relatively young age. My elementry school teachers all required my name to appear on the top of my assignments, so I figured out how to scrawl down my name early in my education. But my teachers never asked me to write my middle name on the top of my paper, so it never occured to me I should learn the spelling of that word too.

I knew my middle name began with an M. It’s fairly commen for people to require a middle initial when filling out a form. I knew three people whose first names matched my middle name – my grandmother, Robinhood’s girlfriend, and the madum librarian from the Music Man. It never seemed important for me to learn the spelling of any of those peoples names though.

You may find it odd that I didn’t learn the spelling of my grandmothers’ name, but I typically wrote grandma on cards and letters, so I really never needed to write her real name down. I’m still not entirely sure of the spelling of either of my grandfather’s names. Their names are Jenkins and Arnold. Those names may be spelled correctly, or they might not be. I rairly know when my spelling is correct. I simply guess, and hope I guessed write. If I was asked to write one of my grandfather’s names on an important document I would make sure and ask a better speller before grabbing my pen.

So when I went to fill out my college application at age 17, and saw that they required my full middle name not just my middle initial I logically asked my mother. “How do you spell my middle name?”

She answered, “M-A-R-I-A-N,” right before she went bizerk. I was a senior in high school. I was heading off to college. And I didn’t know how to spell my own name. How had she failed so miserably as a parent?

As you can see, I now know how to spell Marian. This is because my mother took to quizzing me on the spelling of my middle name every day for the next month. But I still think it’s a very difficult word to spell. Marion berries are spelled with an o, but pronounced the exact same way. And it seems equally likely that it could be spelled Mairian, Marianne, or Maryan. I just don’t see the point in memorizing the spellings of every word in the English language. And apparently as a child, I never saw the point of memorizing the spelling of my own name. Like I said before – I am not like most people.

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