My mom wanted to name me Eugenio and I can only imagine your story would have been my life…
Ernio has been no picnic:
- The anxiety on the first day of school knowing your name is coming up alphabetically.
- The defeated feeling of knowing your name will never be on a keychain, souvenir or said at the end of “Romper Room.”
- The constant confusion with the name Ernesto.
- The soul-stripping wince of hearing people say the American variation — and the inevitable reference to Sesame Street.
- The continuous barrage of mispronunciations and/or misspellings.
- The faux intrigue in the origins of the name or its “meaning” in Spanish.
- The surrender of just giving another name to the Starbucks barista or over the phone when you order food.
- The disdain of name tags or the troubled squint reading of them, knowing you’re just going to have to say it anyway.
- The assumption that I speak fluent Spanish.
- The laughable Facebook suggestions in the edit profile area “How do you pronounce your name?”
Dealing with this name has given me much grief, but… I love it. And I would never dream of changing it. I was always happy with its uniqueness. I too love seeing it in my byline and hearing it said in the full glory of its native rolling tongue.
The name I bear was my father’s name. (We have different middle names.) When he passed a few years ago, I was never more proud to wear it. It is my everlasting connection to him and a reminder to make something of it that is all my own.
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