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The nomenclature nuisance
Sudie Crouch

Growing up, I wished for a normal name.

I yearned for something that was classic and feminine, like an Elizabeth or Grace.
I wanted it to be easy to spell and even easier to say.

Instead, I got stuck with Sudie, a nickname mind you, not my full, given name which is quite the tongue twister.

“Is Sudie a family name?” I am often asked.

“Kind of,” I reply, not wanting to get into it.

“Is it short for Sadie?” is the next question.

I usually respond with a long, slow pause, hoping the person realizes what they just said before I tell them no, it is not short for Sadie. I make my Mama proud by not pointing out the obvious to the person.

I’ve even been asked if it was Sookie, like from the Gilmore Girls or True Blood. Amazingly, I let those slide, since I am way older than those characters.

You’d think after 45 years I would be used to the confusion and to a certain degree, I have.

I am used to being called Susie or Cindy, even though it still grates my nerves.

Even though when I identify myself, I am quite certain I clearly say my name and even say it as “Sue Dee” in hopes they don’t mistake it for another name.

It never fails though; they respond with, “Hi, Cindy.”

For a brief moment in time, I decided to let it not bother me.

Unless it was in a written response.

I can understand someone maybe not catching the consonant in my name if on the phone but getting it wrong in an email was the new normal annoyance.

Auto-correct was to blame.

And now, my name has been turned into possibilities like sodium and Saudi among others.

“How does someone get the name messed up if they see it on the email address and in my signature?” I complained one day. “I can kind of understand if they are on the phone but printed and in black and white two inches below where they are writing? That is just beyond annoying.”

Mama couldn’t feel my pain since she was email-less, but she had a different pickle. “Well, people are now thinking Jean is either French and try pronouncing it like a fancy version of John or they think I am a man and didn’t spell it with a g.”

“I wish you had named me something else,” I tell her.

“Like what? You can always change your name like that time Phoebe in Friends planned on doing.”
That required getting a lawyer to file a name change. No, it was much easier to blame Mama for not naming me something more acceptable.

“I don’t know. But anything other than this one.”

I come across names in books that are quirky and unique that I like much better than my name and wish my mother had given me one of those instead.

“The way you like romance novels, you’d think you could have come up with something better,” I told her one day.
“Be glad I didn’t name you after your great-grandmother,” she replied dryly.

Granny’s mother was barely five feet tall and her given name was bigger than she was – a total of three names, that preceded her surname.  The one she often shortened it to was Radar. We aren’t sure if it was a definition or threat.

Yes, I was thankful Mama hadn’t named me after her although at least that would have had a little more history to it.

“Look on the bright side,” Mama said. “At least if you ever get accused of anything, odds are, they will have your name wrong.”

This was true.

And, it was also a good way to figure out if whoever called was someone I really wanted – or needed – to talk to.

The other day, someone called and said they were told to speak to Cindy Couch.

I sighed. “I think you mean me,” I said and gave them my name.

“No, they told me to call today and ask for Cindy Couch.”
I assured them it was me but that was not my name.

After several minutes of going back and forth, I finally conceded. It was actually a call I needed to deal with.

“So, you are indeed Cindy?” the person asked.

Apparently so.

At least for the purposes of getting through that phone call, I was.