Friday, April 21, 2017


(Some of this is old but most of it is new.)

I was watching a golf tournament on TV some time ago & saw a young golfer by the name of John Huh.  He is Asian, I believe of Korean descent.  I thought of how his life must be frighteningly like the Abbott & Costello routine, “Who’s On First?”.  How many times could someone go through this without exploding?  “What’s your name?”  “Huh.”  “I said, WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” “Huh!!”  “I SAID, WHAT’S YOUR NAME???????????”

When we were first married I worked as a dental assistant for a children's dentist.  One of my jobs was to go into the waiting room, call the next patient & bring him in to the operatory.  I looked at the chart & saw the child's name was Smilley, probably with an umlaut .  So I called "Smiley" & was immediately & quite loudly corrected by the mother, who said her son's name was pronounced "Smelly"!!  I'm sure that name would have been fine in the mother's native country, but I felt sorry for the kid having to go to school in the U.S.

My dad’s given name was Angel Kiewitsky.  He always went by the name Archie Keyes.  When I was starting college he decided to have it changed legally.  Off went our family to the courthouse.  As I recall, almost the entire conversation between the judge & my father went like this: Judge: “Your name is Angel Kiewitsky?”  AK: “Yes, Your Honor.”  Judge: “And you want it changed to Archie Keyes?”  AK: “Yes, sir.”  Judge: “I don’t blame you.  Granted.”

My father-in-law, Phil. used to play in a weekly poker game.  One of the players wasn't too bright, at least that's what Phil thought.  He always referred to him as "Schmungo", but not to his face.  I couldn't find "schmungo" in my Yiddish-English dictionary, but I assume it was Phil's own version of "schmuck"!!

Bud was in the Army with a gentleman named Haralambos T. Haralambos.  He never found out what the "T." stood for.  My grandmother had a little pekingese dog named Ming Toy.  My mother had a friend named Ming Toy Epstein.  Even though Ming Toy Epstein is an odd name for a woman, I don't think they were related.

My husband & my mother-in-law used to read the obituaries in the paper every day.  For a while I did, too.  You’ve heard that old joke, I suppose.  It goes, “First thing I do every morning is to look at the obits.  If my name’s not there, I get on with my day.”  One day I looked at the obits & my name was there—right down to the somewhat unusual “c” in our last name!  It was someone else, of course, but I don’t check the obits anymore.

Some even stranger names:

A rose by any other name would still smell!!----fishducky