Names and Saying Them

I have the horrible habit of, in my head, calling people by the name of what I think they look like instead of their actual name. For example, there could be a person named Butter, but I think they look more like a Jelly, so I’ll call them Jelly (not out loud, of course).

I’m making an effort to stop. I consciously use their actual names in my head were I to think of them. It’s in that brief moment when you first see someone when things spiral out of my control.

ARACHNID: “Hey, Butter… elly!!”

BUTTER/JELLY glares with the fire of a thousand flaming suns at ARACHNID. ARACHNID spontaneously combusts.

It’s a nightmare when you call one of your closest friends by something other than their name (that is also not an applicable nickname).

Except for a few mortifying instances, this issue thankfully doesn’t occur often because I tend to never use people’s names when I’m talking to them.

PEOPLE: Hey, Arachnid!

ARACHNID: Hi. (Note the lack of “People”)

I never really thought about not-saying-people’s-names until a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what prompted me to think about it. Possibly someone said my name and I thought, Huh. I never say that person’s name. Or maybe I was trying to get someone’s attention and my usual methods were insufficient and I had to scream their name, and it felt awkward in my mouth. When I usually try to grab someone’s attention, I put my sock on my hand, along with googly eyes that are always conveniently located in my pocket, and throw a spectacular puppet show. Sorry, just trying to get your attention, dear reader. Making sure you’re not yet bored out of your mind and simply skimming these words for any sort of emotion to break the predictable mundaneness of daily zombie living. When I usually try to grab someone’s attention, I tap their shoulders. If that fails, I’ll wave my hand obnoxiously in their face or simply give up and flop over like a deflated version of those dancing balloon people thingies outside of car washes.

On the rare occasion that I use someone’s name, I more-often-than-not stumble over it like a bunny leaping over a boulder the size of Mount Everest (I’ve lost track of that simile. OH WELL). It’s not how it looks. I know your name, I really do! Just… AHHHHH. I can pronounce words.

I think the name I stumble the most on is my own. You never really say your own name often, and with such little practice with it, I’m terrible at saying it. I can barely eke out the traditional pronunciation, and even then, I have to repeat it back to you; I can’t come up with it off the top of my head. But, as my name is my own, I get to decide how to say it, right?

Is it A-rack-nid, like a horrible hacking cough, or is it A-rah-ch-nid like that itchy rash?

The main reason I decided to go with a pseudonym (Yes, I’ll admit, it’s a pseudonym. My parents did not actually name me Arachnid Weaver. But I will deny it if you ever ask) is because the name on my birth certificate is a pain to pronounce. It’s not the worst out there, but whenever anyone asks me how to say it, I usually have to repeat it multiple times, and even then, it’s a fifty-fifty shot.

But sometimes even I don’t pronounce it right (according to the pronunciation I prefer. If we go the traditional route, I never say it right).

I was always trying to escape my name. When I was four, I asked my mom why they didn’t name me Golden Girl (I’m glad they didn’t. And, yes, four-year-old-me wanted a superhero name. She didn’t yet realize that they had secret identities. She thought Spider-Man’s parents named him “Spider-Man” as a powerless infant). When I was in kindergarten, I’d occasionally put a name other than mine on my papers (probably a pain for the teacher to sort, but at least I was consistent). When I was ten, I wanted to legally change my name for my birthday (I didn’t).

The Wrong Way to Wave

There is only one successful way to wave. You wave at Target Person and Target Person waves back. Your mission is complete. Congratulations.

Unfortunately, there are a lot more ways to fail spectacularly at waving. Fortunately, these failures are often quite amusing (for unattached observers. Definitely not amusing for all parties involved. Mortifying for them).

  1. When you think someone’s waving at you, but they’re actually waving at the person behind you.
    • You were having an awful day (You spilled orange juice all over your jeans, and no matter where you go, people kept asking if you peed your pants), but the cheerful wave from your acquaintance turned your day around. At least someone is happy to see you. You excitedly start to wave back when you notice that your acquaintance is looking at their friend, who is behind you and waving nonchalantly. They also have dry pants. You awkwardly put your hand in your hair like that’s what you meant to do the entire time.
  2. When you think that someone is waving at the person behind you, but they are actually waving at you.
    • You are walking down the hall, deep in thought, when you see an acquaintance of yours in your peripheral vision waving vigorously. As you have low self-esteem, you conclude that no sane person would purposefully wave at you and they must be waving at the person behind you. Having reached this conclusion, you dutifully ignore you acquaintance, allowing the person behind you freely wave without a doubt as to whether they are being waved at. As you continue down the hall, you see your acquaintance’s face fall and they burst into tears. You surreptitiously glance behind you. Did the Target Person not see you acquaintance waving? The hallway is empty. They were waving at you. They are now weeping excessively because of you and now you are weeping excessively because of how guilty you are.
  3. When you wave at someone, but the person behind them waves at you.
    • You are walking down the hall when you see one of your friends. You wave enthusiastically, but they are reading and walking (which is inadvisable) and they don’t see you. A distant acquaintance (you went to kindergarten together, but you haven’t spoken since, although you do acknowledge each other’s existence occasionally), on the other hand, does see you and is waving back at you. Instinctively, you awkwardly wave again, a grimace on your face because of your hand’s betrayal.
  4. When you wave at someone, but they don’t see you.
    • You are walking down the hall when you see one of your friends. You wave enthusiastically, but they are reading and walking (which is inadvisable) and they don’t see you. You awkwardly put your hand in your hair like that’s what you meant to do the entire time.
  5. When you pretend to wave at someone so people don’t think you’re lonely.
    • This one really doesn’t need an explanation.

She’s Having a Baby?!

So last Monday, my cousin’s wife had a baby. I didn’t know she was pregnant.

Sure, big families can be fun with the endless stream of people who are obligated to like you. But they can also be a burden.

When you near forty cousins, there’s a problem. Many problems, in fact. Such as no one telling you that one of them is having a baby. And not being able to remember said baby’s name.

One day your mom will tell you that one of your closest cousin’s has a new wife (He got married?!) or is having another baby (He’s married?!).

And you can never remember a week later that they got married or had a baby.

 

Or sometimes you’ll be at a party and some random stranger will come up to you and the following conversation will ensue:

Stranger: Hey, Arachnid! I’m your aunt! I saw you when you were three. You used to run around without clothes on. Remember?

Arachnid: Oh, hey…yeah. I totally remember that. You’re my favorite relative! How could I possibly forget you? Uhh… Remind me how we’re related?

*Stranger that claims she is your relative holds out her arms for a hug.*

Arachnid (Thinking): Who in the blobfish is this random dude? I’m supposed to HUG her?!

*Arachnid awkwardly shakes the stranger’s hand*

 

I often have difficulties remembering all the members of the Weaver family (There are so many!). I ask my parents beforehand whenever we go to visit family. I still can never remember their names, though.

Most of my cousins are a lot older than me, and they’re all getting married (I’m going to go off on a little tangent about arranged marriages now. One of my cousins is getting married this summer. It was arranged. They talked on Facebook for NINE DAYS when he proposed to her. And she said yes. THEY HAVE NEVER MET IN PERSON. *Ultimate face-palm. Face-palm so hard I accidentally decapitate myself*) And my cousins are all getting married to people with even BIGGER families and then I have to learn all of their names.

A couple months ago, a large portion of my family went to my dad’s brother’s son’s son’s first birthday party. One of my cousin’s friends came to the party and he asked my cousin how he was related to the Birthday Boy.

Friend: How are you guys related?

Cousin: Uhh… He’s my mother’s sister’s husband’s brother’s son’s son.

Friend: …

 

I need to make a flowchart or something to keep track of everyone.


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