Yes, actually, I CAN spell it!

My maiden name, Creech, hardly ever got spelled wrong on official paperwork.
I think because it is a less-common-sounding name, typists actually took two seconds to double-check their work. Not true with my new married name: Chesnut.
It’s not a tree. It doesn’t roast over an open fire. There are no double letters and it’s spelled exactly the way that it sounds.
So why does it usually take three tries to get it right on paperwork?
Others tend to see my name and immediately assume “Chestnut,” without bothering to make sure that’s right. The woman who changed my driver’s license actually argued with me that I had spelled it wrong.
Umm, no. It’s my name, so I think I would know how to spell it, thank you very much.
Chestnut. Chessnut. Chesnut. Three tries. Even though I filled the form out correctly the first time. I just don’t understand.
I really feel for those who have been blessed with last names like Rustankowski. How many different ways has THAT ever been spelled? It sounds cool, when said correctly, but what is it like to live in fear that your name will be butchered at crucial moments – such as walking across the stage at graduation?
Juliet’s lines from Shakespeare’s famous love story, “What’s in a name? A rose, by any other name, would still smell as sweet,” are definitely not true in today’s society.
With all the unusual names floating around today, both first and last, one pronunciation is certainly not as sweet as another.
However, on the other side of that argument, I always wonder what parents were thinking when they chose names like Warneta or Donoctavious? Did they think about the pain that child will go through at the hands of announcers all over the world?
What happened to Brittany, Ashley, John and Michael? I remember when I might have six Ashley’s in a single class, which is a bit excessive, but there is something to be said for commonality.
Giving your child a name that won’t get him or her beaten up at school is not “bowing to the man.” It’s a kindness to the teenager that child will one day become.
A last name is a legacy and can’t be helped, but parents can at least be considerate when selecting a first name.
I hope my generation of upcoming parents will conquer the need to legally force our own creativity on our children. Let them change their names later if they want.
And I hope the secretaries of the world will take a second glance at my paperwork and admit that maybe I do know how to spell my own last name.


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