What’s in a Name?


Yesterday, a coworker told me that she’d met a couple who were also named Frost. She beamed at me as though she’d handed me a birthday cake. I’m socially awkward under the best of circumstances, so when I’m in a situation I don’t understand I tend to fight or flee.

This puzzled me enough that I couldn’t react. I’m used to getting questions about my name — am I related to Robert Frost? Jack Frost? (No, …yes, dammit) — but this approach was unknown to me. It wasn’t a question, but clearly some manner of response was expected.

“Ah,” I said. This acknowledged the statement without inviting its own response. This always seems like a good approach, and it never works. What I’d like to convey is “please stop talking to me”, but I’ve found that I can’t say that. Not because it’s rude, but because it actually extends the conversation as I’m then expected to explain in detail why I don’t won’t to talk to the person. So, “ah”.

“I wondered if you were related,” she returned, and told me their names.

Ah, indeed. I was afraid that’s where we were going.

“I have no idea, and I don’t want to know if they are,” I told her. This was a bit rude, but I really needed to convey my disinterest in the subject.

“They’re really nice,” she informed me.

“Then we’re not related,” I quipped.

With that I went back to work.

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2 thoughts on “What’s in a Name?

  1. As you might guess, this almost never happens to me; when it does, the last name is always spelled differently-ends with an o rather than an i usually. Mine is better for ridonkulous mispronounciations.

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