What’s in a name? Sometimes a racial slur.

What is wrong with people?

I came across an old picture the other day, and since I’ve yet to master the appropriate way to celebrate Throw-Back-Thursday, I thought I’d share it with you. But before I reveal the photo, I owe you a quick explanation.

In a prior job, one of my daily tasks was to interview people who were applying to college. I would schedule appointments with prospective students, and upon their arrival to the school lobby, they were asked to sign-in on the visitor’s sheet. It was the standard sign-in sheet, asking for their name, the current time and the name of the person they were here to see. It’s pretty customary shit, people.

My name is Whitney. Although that’s not a terribly difficult name to spell, I fully understand that it’s not a beginner level name like Jan or Sue. I’ve learned over the years to expect misspells. I’ve seen Witney, Whittney, Wendy and even Brittany a million times over, and I’m completely okay with that. I don’t even flinch.

But on August 4th, 2011, I did flinch. Twice.

Flinch #1:

That’s right. At 9am, I strolled out to the lobby only to realize the student I was greeting had renamed me “Wintey” while I wasn’t looking. As in, rhymes with “minty”. Although I found the spelling a bit odd, I shook the student’s hand and walked my spearminty ass down the hall towards my office like nothing ever happened. I’m a professional, dammit!

But then, 4pm rolled around, and with it came Flinch #2:

Tango.

Foxtrot.

I did a double-take. I lifted the sheet closer to my face, squinting my eyes in disbelief of what I was reading.

WETNECK!?!

How in the holy hell did anyone mistake the name Whitney for WETNECK? God rest her soul, I thought Whitney Houston was a household name, which should render a mistake of this magnitude impossible! And even if they thought I introduced myself as “Wetneck” during our phone conversation, why wouldn’t they have questioned it???

And what exactly is a Wetneck anyway? I was curious, and therefore posted the photo that evening to my Facebook page, where my friend Paula enlightened me.

hanks, Paula. Maybe the kid wasn’t a moron, but instead just using my name to test out a newly invented racial slur. Great.

Have people botched your name before? Share your entries to the idiot name-game below.

Sincerely,

Wetneck