Friday, January 21, 2011

"A Difficult Spell"

I have the distinct memory of being a kid and listening my mother continually spelling our last name when she ordered things over the phone.  “Pomerantz” is not that common a name; you are constantly spelling it out.  I remember her saying that whomever her boys married must be prepared for a similar ordeal for the rest of their lives.

Flash Forward.  Our daughter, Anna, is betrothed (she prefers that word to “engaged”) to Colby Buddelmeyer.  If the couple goes the “hyphenate” route – Pomerantz-Buddelmeyer – the phone-spelling ordeal will more than double in difficulty.  From nine letters to twenty.

Let it never be said that we are not a helpful family.  Sitting on the beach in Hawaii, slathered in lotion and waiting for the sun to show up, we decided to pool our mental resources and help the couple to prepare for the inevitable “spell-outs” they are destined to endure. 

We devised clarifying tips, to assist the people on the other end of the line.  You know what I mean:  “B” as in “boy”, “D” as in “dog”, to make sure they get it right, so the delivery didn’t wind up at the Poomenans-Beateremajor’s, or people with a similar name, but not theirs.

A successful telephonic exchange would then go something like this:

What’s that?  The name as it appears on the credit card?  It’s Anna Pomerantz-Buddelmeyer.  Yes, I’ll spell the last name for you.  It’s

“P” as in “pneumonia”

“O” as in “Oedipus”

“M” as in “mnemonic”

“E” as in “eye”

“R”, like the sound a pirate makes

“A” as in ”aegis”

“N”, like the “n” in “gnome”

“T” as in “tzaziki”

“Z” as in xylophone, if it were spelled with a “z”

Dash.  Then

“B” as in “bouillabaisse”

“U” as in “umlaut”

“D” as in “Django”, like the guitarist Django Reinhardt

“D”, “Django” again

“E” as in “euphemism”

“L”,  as in the sound a pirate makes if they’re Asian

“M” as in “mmm…good”

“E” as in “Europe”

“Y” as in “ytterbium”

“E” as in “eyether”

and “R”, like the sound a pirate makes if they’re not Asian.

“You got it?  Sure, I can give it to you again. 

It’s “P” as in “pterodactyl”

“O” as in “oeuvre”

Of course, this is only a first draft.  If you have any better suggestions, feel free to pass them along.  These kids are going to need all the help they can get.


Keith said...

Asian pirates saying L is really clever. I might have to steal that for non-commercial personal use.

P as in pea
O as in ooohhhh (really have to sell this one)
M as in mmmm
E as in EEE!
R as in Bobby, when he gets in trouble
A as in Aye! (Fonzie)
N as n
T as in tea (or tee, if you're at a country club)
Z as in zed

Andrew said...

I really like e as in eye and you can do the same thing with a.

A as in aitch (or are)
E as in ess

My last name (Radford) should be easy to spell, but people always want to write Bradford, or Redford.

Gary said...

These are all very entertaining - but Anna should dump the Bud and find a Smith or Jones, especially is she's going the hyphenated route. Imagine writing checks and having to sign that 24-letter name? I know, these days nobody has to write checks anymore, but still, some folks refuse to be electronically spurred into the
21st century. Or just take his first name. Colby is easy to deal with. Just have him change his name to Colby Colby. That's an easy change, a lot easier than writing those alphatrocious 24-letter-name checks for the next 50 years, (especially if she uses her middle name, too).

benson said...

Earl, Earl, Earl, Gary is right. Imagine the burden on your future grandchildren. And what if they become hockey players (or athletes of any kind) What the hell is the back of that jersey going to look like?...Pomerantz-Buddelmeyer. ("The youth hockey program went bankrupt, due to the amount of money spent to sew letters onto the back of Earl Pomerantz-Buddelmeyer II's sweater.)

Max Clarke said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Max Clarke said...

How badly does Anna want to get married?

The word "hyphenate" is shorter than Pomerantz and Buddelmeyer. Not a good sign.

To tell you the truth, maybe Anna could keep Pomerantz. Don't hyphenate except under a court order. Her name right now sounds good, the "an" is there in both names.

Maybe the two kids should create their own last name. They keep their first names, and they have the last name they select for their marriage.

Anna Clarke and Colby Clarke would be a good last name, for example, and I would feel quite honored.

If they both like baseball, say hello to Anna Koufax and her husband Colby Koufax.

You get the idea. Good luck.

Kathryn Hartog said...


Papa Oscar Mike Echo Romeo Alpha November Tango Zulu
Bravo Uniform Delta Delta Echo Lima Mike Echo Yankee Echo Romeo