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How Many Names Have You Been Called in this Business?

I’ve been called a million of them.

Tri, Thi, Toni, Tani, Tina, Traci (huh?), and just today in a comment on my featured post, “No Offense But I’m Sick of Your Offer,” I was referred to as, Tre.  Thanks for the chuckle.  Since I’ve gone 37 years with this name, I thought I had seen them all, but those of you who have an unusual name know it is the gift that just keeps on giving.  I generally have a very nonchalant attitude about mispronunciations, and misspellings because it happens so frequently.  Although I will, at times, refuse to give my name to a Starbuck’s Barista if I am pressed for time (Please just call me “Grande Frappuchino ®.”) 

I suppose my name is a bit deceiving.  It is short – three letters, but that unheard of double consonant throws everyone for a loop.  So even when people are not called upon to pronounce it, they feel drawn to “correct” it.  What I find most amusing is that even people who can’t spell well will try to correct the spelling of my name.  I don’t know what they are thinking “Poor child, she made it through college and STILL can’t spell her own name.” Or, maybe they are trying to say “I may not know everything about spelling, but I know THAT’S wrong.”  One nice thing about having an unusual name is that people always remember that it is unusual, although they may not remember what it is.  One of my least favorite renditions is Thi, as I believe it brings undue attention to whether I have recently gained weight.  Tri is also annoying because I think it makes me sound a bit too eager.  

There are definite good sides and bad sides to having an unusual name.  As some may know, before I turned to real estate, I worked as an attorney.  And one thing you should know about lawyers is that they generally don’t like to admit when they don’t know something, especially if they are litigators.  I mean if you are presenting your case in court and the other side just cited a case you never heard of, you just have to keep going and not lose your “air of authority.”  You can’t exclaim “For real?” in open court and expect to win.  Unfortunately, this behavior extends beyond the courtroom.  Therein lies the problem with my name.  Lawyers look down, they don’t know how to pronounce it, but they aren’t going to admit that.  They do what all good lawyers do, they plow right through it.  As a result, my friends at the firm often referred to me as “Teeny Leeblank,” in emails and behind closed doors.  (I couldn’t be too upset about Teeny because I was named for my grandmother, Tiny, and if she could suffer a lifetime of Tiny, I could live through a few good hearted moments as Teeny.) 

I’ve even encountered colleagues who were “jealous” of my special name.  Once I was cornered at a Happy Hour by an attorney who noticed that a local judge always addressed me, an attorney fairly new to the community, by first name at social events.  He wondered what was so special about me.  I kindly explained to him that the first time that judge ever said my name was in front of a group of other colleagues and he pronounced it as “Tui” as in “P-Tooey,” and though I like to go with the flow, I draw the line when I am addressed as the sound you make when you spit, so I corrected him in front of everyone – and he never forgot it.  That quickly put an end to his envy.

The name Tni itself is simple, it’s like “tonight” without the “t” on the end.    And though I’ve been called by many names, the name my mother chose, is the one I recommend.

Copyright © Tni LeBlanc 2010 * How Many Names Have You Been Called in this Business?*

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