July 29th, 2009

Hey, Whatsyourface!


Growing up as the child of immigrants whose native language wasn’t English, meant dealing with certain truths. I had to explain a lot of words, terms, and jokes.  The pronouns “he” and “she” were used randomly.  I went for long periods of time thinking that I slept on a mattrix at night, and that the Sears Tower is in Chahcago. All of these I accepted. I understood that it was difficult to master a new language as an adult. But there was one thing I totally didn’t get:  they would always ALWAYS call me Michael-no-Kate and my brother Kate-no-Michael.

How many times did I roll my eyes and think, “Can’t you even tell us apart? We’re your own flesh and blood! “

I mean, how could our own parents get our names mixed up? I am five years older than my brother. We have very different personalities. Heck, besides our common DNA, we are different in every way except that we both get called by first-name-hybrids. 

Clearly, this was some kind of language/brain FAIL.

Of course, now I know that is not the case.

Most of the time I call out Elise or Luke’s name, it comes out stupid. Luuuu-se! Ehhhluke! Elleeke! Luke (to Elise)! Elise (to Luke!) It’s gotten to the point that if I actually call them the correct name, I’m pleasantly surprised.

It’s like a perpetual name-triggered brain fart.

It’s kind of embarrassing when I’m at a crowded playground, clearly calling out nonsense names. Especially if the Husband is there to witness it (since for all those strangers know, I do have a little girl named LuuElke). I’m sure he deposits a little more of our savings into my future dementia ward each time.

And then, the other day, I reached an all-time low. Luke was trying to electrocute himself with the electric socket again, and I yelled out the cat’s name.


The Husband looked alarmed.

I told him I wanted a room with a view of the bocce courts, not the topiary gardens, and to please have the family visit me often. Wearing name tags.

More from this Author

This Weeks Tip

This tip can be filed in the category of “things they never taught you in Home Ec.” Want to get the most juice out your lime? Put it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds before you squeeze, and you’ll get nearly twice the juice.