Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What's in a name?

The thing I hate most (besides being confused with Shreveport celebrity Donecia Pea) is for people to get my very simple name wrong.

I got called Ashley Northingham yesterday for the zillionth time. Ugh! Ham? It's NorthingTON, people. I gave the school secretary a break though, I just smiled and shrugged as if she pronounced it correctly.

She was very nice and professional, but I get tired of over-enunciating my last name, only for people to still get it mixed up with something else.

At least she didn't say Worthington. Or Washington. Or Nottingham. Or Northing. I get all those other last names a lot too.

The people who get it wrong the most are administrative assistants. I call them incessantly. And, just when I think we've built a friendly relationship someone always lets me down by saying, "OK, Ms. Worthington. I'll tell him to call you."


I get a ton of mail addressed to Ashley Northingham, Ashley Nottingham, Alisa Northington (I can only guess the first name mix up is due to the fact that my editor's name really is Alisa--at least they got the last name right.)

When people call to ask me for my email address I cringe: "It's A as in apple, D as in dog, N.O.R.T.H.I.N.G.T.O.N. at And that's G.A.N.N.E.T.T."

It's really a mouthful.

I understand my name is long. It's even too long for me to write the whole thing when I sign papers. But I will never change it. Not even if I marry. I think my last name is one of the things that makes me unique--aside from the other Ashley Northington, who is a teacher in Aiken, South Carolina. I bet people mix up her name a lot too.

At restaurants I don't even tell people my real name. Most of the time I give the hostess the last name of the other people I'm with: Rucker, Anderson, Ellis, Holland. Lately, I've taken to Hunter. I stole that from my editor Velda. I think her last name suits me well--at least for restaurant reservations.

But seriously, how hard can it be?

Really hard.

Just ask any school secretary.


Stephanie Netherton said...

I feel you on this one ... Netherton is a mouthful too!

I get Netherland, Neatherton (pronounced Knee-therton) and once in high school a sub teacher called me Nethernorton.

I don't get it. It ain't that hard!

Kate Warren said...

I know how this goes. I used to work at a bank and was required to wear a name tag which read Katy. I've never been called Kathy so much in my life. I mean, people had the name spelled out there in front of them and still got it wrong, and managed to add a letter. I now answer to Kathy.

Stephanie Bemrose said...

Great post, Ashley. I hate giving out my e-mail address over the phone, too. People ask me if I'm "Bremrose?" or "Demrose?" At least I can use "rose" to my advantage -"BEM, then rose - R.O.S.E. - just like the flower." But Gannett is a whole other obstacle - people say "Gan-it" like all the time.

So to be safe, I always make sure to repeat the whole address at the end.

Elizabeth said...

I have to admit that I first I thought you were being a little snooty booty about this. But by the end of your blog I was thinking right on track with you. My alais is "Melissa Henderson."

Adam Kealoha Causey said...

Ha! Elizabeth, Ashley can be a little snooty booty. But people should try to get a name correct. I couldn't count the number of times Kealoha was botched. And Causey becomes Casey all the time.

One time I was checking into a hotel in Baton Rouge, and a nearby clerk said, "Casey." I quickly pronounced my name correctly, but there actually was a couple with the name Casey right beside me. They said they get mistaken for Causeys all the time. That's a tough one, I guess?

Ashley Northington said...

I'm glad there are so many people who understand what I'm going through! I guess everybody's got it bad...

And Adam, I'll show you snooty...keep playing!