What’s in a name? You probably already know that actually, names are super important. If you call a rose something other than a rose, it doesn’t smell as sweet (unless you, like me, don’t like the smell of roses–in that case you may may make it smell better). I’m studying philosophy of language this semester and a lot of it has to do with naming of people and objects. Does the name have meaning? Does the name define the object?
I, of course, have quite the experience with changing names. I was Christy to the family, so up until high school I was pretty much always Christy, except when in trouble, of course. Then I decided that gender ambiguity was more fun than a barrel of monkeys. It started out online, and then I took the name with me to the real world (or meat space, if you use cooler lingo than I do). But then I got sick of telling people who saw my name on a list that they could drop the last syllable. And Christine felt pretty adult. If you’ve never had a two syllable name at Starbucks, you might not know this, but it is pretty risky trying to get a drink with your name on it. So Chris stuck for coffee orders. Some folks (okay, I think one person) noticed that, and started calling me Chris. So now I’m Chris again, in some circles (ekzemple: Esperantujo). Where did Tofer come from? That was from a friend. Who has also gone through Kristof, Tofur (it has tofu in it, so it’s funny), Christopher, and a variety of other names for me. This is why you shouldn’t keep friends around so long (just kidding–<3 you, LB!). Then of course when I’m feeling especially Esperanto-y, I’m Krisjo (mi ne ŝatas la nomon Krinjo.)
Nicknames can be great to differentiate people with the same name. My phone is full of Matt/Matthews, Andy/Andrews, et cetera. But I’ve never had to take on a nickname for that reason. I’ve had Christinas and Tinas and Kristins and currently a Kirsten, but never a Christine. Now, however, I have a professor Christine. “Why don’t you just call her Professor Surname?” Well, because she said to call her by first name. And the real confusion comes when the other professor (We have two professors for this course. Don’t ask me why. Or do ask, but I’ll have no answer for you. Unless I make up an awesome story for you.) talks about both of us in one sentence: “Christine and I were discussing_____, but then Christine asked______ and Christine brought up ________.” It’s exhausting. So I offered to go by Chris. Guess who else goes by Chris? >.< The good news? I couldn’t have been an omelet. (That’s pretty much all I’ve learned in this class that has thoroughly stuck)
Am I a terrible person for thinking it is absolutely hilarious that SAVVY (the veg group on campus) gave out gelatin containing gummy bears today? Sure, I’d have been severely pissed had I eaten them, but still, I about died of laughter when I got the apology email. You’d think that the judgemental folks there would have taken a few seconds to read the ingredients. And why gummy bears? If I were planning the event, I’d have put out something that’s always vegan, lest I give the impression that gummy bears are always (and clearly they aren’t) vegan. How about something like Swedish Fish? They’re gummy and gelatin free. I guess I am kind of a jerk, but my first introduction to these people was one gossiping about how so-and-so who claimed that he was a vegan was eating yogurt and how could he wear a pro-animal t-shirt when he was such a hypocritical and generally terrible person who would eat yogurt? I’m pretty sure I’d have weaned myself off dairy sooner had I not feared becoming one of *them*. Yet another reason why some people should just not be allowed to open their mouths. There are so many people I have liked until I’ve heard them speak. That’s one of the three things that are automatic turnoffs, in case you’re keeping track at home: gauges (yuck!), annoying voices/annoying things said, and not smelling awesome.