Z. E. L. L.

“What kind of name is that?”

I get asked that question more often than I should. It’s usually asked in a rather putrid, acrid manner. As if it’s the name equivalent of an SBD.

My response, of which there are many, depends on the tone and attitude of the asker. I’ve become quite adept at deciphering if,

“German.”

Is the answer they’re looking for.

For some bizarre reason, it usually isn’t.

It’s often the same when I spell it out. When I get to the end there seems to be an expectation of more to come. I’ve asked other people with like names if it happens to them and it does. My response here also depends on the askers manner.

If they seem sincere in their expectation that it can’t stop there I’ll say,

“That’s it. Sorry.”

If there’s a tad more tension in the air I may say something like,

“You can keep writing, if you’d like, but I’m done speaking.”

Many times, being the giver that I am, I’ll give ’em what they want.

“P. D. M. E. E. S. B. I. K. L.” Sometimes, when they’ve caught up and look at me, I’ll start again, “WGNNI. But the pdmeesbiklwgnni is silent.”

I’ve been known to throw in numbers just to make sure they’re paying attention.

“What kind of name is that?”

“Being a four-letter word, perfect for me.” I wearily answer.

“No, I mean, it’s strange. I’ve never heard it before. Is it short for something?” Yes, Zelldmeesbiklwgnni.

“Nope, that’s it. Sorry, I was little when they gave it to me so didn’t have a choice.”

“I still don’t believe it. It’s fucking weird.”

What do you do with a guy like this? As I’m wading through my options he continues,

“I mean, it might be normal in your family.”

I look at him like the aflac goose does Yogi Berra as the realization that there is nothing I can do to a guy like this. Every morning, when his eyes flicker open and light illuminates his day, the cockroaches that inhabit his brain must scurry in fear taking all chance of thought with them.

Days don’t start much worse than that.

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7 responses to “Z. E. L. L.

  1. “Nah. The rest of my family thinks I’m fucking weird. Their name is Zell, too, but they pronounce it ‘Smith.'”

  2. So that explains why I’m never invited to family reunions. Well, maybe not.

  3. Cool. Are you related to C.H.U.D. ?

  4. i tell them my last name is japanese

  5. Not long ago, I couldn’t find your name in my snail-mail, manual address book. I knew I had written it in …

    Then I realized I was looking under the “C”s.

  6. Next time the guy is giving you a hard time about your name and he says “It might be normal for your family” just say “And you are probably considered normal in yours!”

    My last name is French–Du Jour!

    @JudyH–I’m actually surprised that it wasn’t listed under the “B”s!!

  7. You know I’m on your side, having a four letter last name myself. I hated that fucking Owl….

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