Why did I have such a stupid bloody name? #name #humour

Le Pard. Why not Smith? Or Jones? Or something humbly bland? Geoffrey rather than Jeffrey is bad enough – my German colleagues assumed the ‘e’ was silent making me Goff, a sort of lisping noiriste of a lawyer – but the surname provides endless amusement and frustration.

I tried so very hard today to make a representative of Virgin Media understand that it was Le, not La Pard and that Pard started with a P not a D. But that is a small price to pay.

In digging out some things for another post on my mother I found a set of envelopes she kept from the 1970s

2016-05-26 16.41.31

showing this niggling nonsense around my nomenclature isn’t new. I think she kept them to set dad off.

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He was very proud of our Huguenot ancestry so if some hapless soul failed to catch the unusual spelling of our name it would be a sure-fire way to have the old boy steaming.

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I think Blytepad has a certain cache.

What about you? What variables do you get?

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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82 Responses to Why did I have such a stupid bloody name? #name #humour

  1. Oh, gosh … I can so relate this to my own family name too.
    After I got married to my German husband, I changed my family’ name to out marriage name, of course. Of which is the worse experience I got that made me sometimes cringed at certain event or places where people mistaken your family name …

    The family name is Hilles and it turns out wrongly spelled by many, actually, that ended up with some evil jokes to turn it around into Hitler … It made me sad, actually. I was so proud to carry my marriage name until certain event where I was thrown out from a restaurant because the waitress misspelled the family name on their Guest Book and they thought I was making a bad joke on their Führer and using it as an insult against the Germans themselves. What the …

    And then I showed them my ID card to show that they are the ONES that did it wrong and my husband sued them for assault because one of the waiter grabbed me by the arms and pushed me out the door brutally hard enough to send me off. I got bruises. The manager apologized when my husband and I, included our good friends as bodyguards and showed them my ID and his ID for them to see.

    What a hell of a thing for me … It was never funny for me, really … 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rowena says:

      I feel for you. I have German heritage. My grandfather’s family came out from Germany in 1839 and had the surname Haebich. It is pronounced haybick but was all too easily turned into hey bitch. One of my mother’s criterion for marriage, was an easy surname…along with good eye sight. That might well have blinded her to some of my father’s more exotic quirks. xx Rowena

      Liked by 2 people

      • I think, the European names is as difficult as some Asian family name. I came from Malaysia but we have a normal British name as my family are Catholic. Unlike the Japanese or Chinese, even Vietnamese kept their traditional family name of which are very difficult to spell or pronounce.

        But since I got married with a man whose family name is quite exotic but pretty silly in some way that it is not that funny when something like that happened …

        Thank you for sharing your own story as well, Rowena! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        I gave a friend whose Vietnamese surname – Ngyuan – caused much hilarity for her as she constantly spelt it. But she was surpassed by the next trainee whose parents hailed from Sri Lanka and whose name Karagaratnam utterly defeated everyone. It was splendid when he introduced himself to see the terror on the eyes of the host in case he had to pass in the introductions.

        Liked by 1 person

      • LOL wah hahaha … We have a few of Sri Lanka friend here as well. It is so difficult even to remember it, what to say how to spell it out. It was Bhante Devananda Rambukwelle.

        And we were like …,”The Bhan what Diva Well?” And then he joked in return, “Yes, the Diva!” LOL

        Like

  2. Throughout his military career, my father’s dog-tags showed his surname as “CHARMING”. Meh; could have been worse.

    While on holiday in Malaysia in 1980, I went to the reception of a hotel we had booked (had booked for us by the tour operator) and the receptionist said she was expecting someone Chinese. Why? On the booking telex (remember them?) ‘K E CHANNING’ had been magically transposed to ‘KE CHAN MING’

    Finally, the first driving licence I had in Dubai (1978) showed my name (in Arabic, of course) as ‘Jinnis Keet’. How? Your guess is as good as mine, but it’s a great character name for later on. I pointed out the error, and even wrote it in Arabic myself. During transposition, the typised missed one of those important dots, turning the ‘ee’ character to ‘b’. I still have that licence, showing me as Keith Channbng.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Typised? Freudian slip, perchance? (typist, of course)

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Sacha Black says:

    seriously? I don’t think I can even go there, I would write a post longer than yours on the variables. The ones I used to most hate at school were related to my first name: Pocahontas, Pinocchio, Poo-nonica, knicker boca glory. It goes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I feel the pain of the unique name! My parents had picked Melissa for me, but my cousin’s wife had a baby a month before I was born and she received Melissa. Since there couldn’t be two, I got a “special” name. Spelled in a “special” way. It means that I get to correct every person who has to read my name before they hear it, and endure letters from friend’s of my parent’s who (even after 29 years) still spell it incorrectly. One of my students gave me a note for Lunar New Years, she has only ever seen my name written correctly at the school I teach in, and yet, there it was, the “conventional” way haha I really don’t know where she got that spelling from.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Al Lane says:

    I’d think it was cool to have a surname that sounded like “leopard”, but I’m starting from a boringly low baseline of “Lane” (which still gets mis-spelt as Lange, or Lang)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. AJ.Dixon says:

    This post gave me a good chuckle. Your poor dad! 😄
    My school once presented me with a certificate when I was 12 which was for “Adam Dickinson”. I was rather annoyed at that one, I was on their system so there really was no excuse!
    Last year I told the lady at Argos that my name was “Dixon with an ‘X'”, so my post comes addressed to “Mr Dixson”. I despair!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I did a post on names and variants a year ago.
    https://pensitivity101.wordpress.com/2015/05/28/spelling-a-common-sense-story/
    It may make you smile. These days it’s the christian name that fools ’em. Nothing wrong with Diana or Di, or Dido, until you get addressed as Dyannah, Die or heaven forbid Dildo 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Autism Mom says:

    I love your name! It is so perfect for a novelist: Geoff the Panther. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Ritu says:

    Oh I feel your pain!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry, Geoff…but those bastardizations of your name…really made me laugh. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

  12. complexlyme says:

    oh that’s completely relatable!!
    Well, my parents picked a name for me from a book called ‘Book of Indian Names’ by maneka gandhi. And okay, my dad has a particular affinity for anything ‘unique’… even if it is completely absurd. Like my name. Not only that, my name should be Devishi, according to the book, but instead it is Devisi (which isn’t even a legitimate name). And gah, no one gets it. Some go “devishi”, some “Devanshi”, some “Devishri”… and the worst i came across is “Devi Singh”.
    Now i’m like…. call me what you want… even the autocorrect annoys me everytime i type my name… it makes it ‘device’. i’m like .. meh.

    plus, i have the most uncanny surname too. Which I will not pain myself to reveal. haha.

    Nice post this. Spread a smile or two. 🙂
    cheers.

    Like

  13. gordon759 says:

    Which is why I had my children christened Peter and Christopher, at least their Christian names would be easy to understand.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. willowdot21 says:

    I love your Mum and Dad!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Anabel Marsh says:

    Well, this seems to have set everyone going! Here goes with my rant: Annabel is a family name often shortened to Anna or Annie. My Mum thought by spelling it Anabel this could be avoided. Wrong! Kids don’t care how it’s spelt, just how it sounds. My sister being Elspeth we went through school as Annie Walker and Elsie Tanner. You could also make it rhyme with my surname AnaBEL MitchELL. I don’t really approve of women being expected to change their names on marriage, but I did it anyway because I thought Anabel Marsh sounded better (shallow, I know). Cue confusion Marsh / March. Being told no appointment for Marsh exists because I have been entered as Anna Belmarsh. Giving my name as Marsh and being called that because it’s assumed to be short for Marcia. I could go on. Years ago I stopped correcting mistakes, but I started again in the Internet age. If your name’s not right, no-one can find you. Type Anabel Marsh into Google and it will ask if you meant Annabel Marsh. It won’t do it the other way round. This stuff matters!

    Liked by 2 people

    • TanGental says:

      Ha love your rant. Reminds me of tickets for a ferry that was booked for the four of us. I rang to confirm to be told no Le Pards were booked. I quoted the booking reference to be told it was the Mast family. I studied the hand written ticket and realised the first line of Mr Mrs Master and Miss Le Pard stopped at Mr Mrs Mast. We were for ages the Mast family in disguise.

      Like

  16. A rose by any other name ………….. I love your name!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. rgemom says:

    Hahaha!! It’s crazy how badly people can mess up a name. My maiden surname was deliciously easy. My married name, not so much. Heck, it took me a couple of years to even say it correctly. We generally hear Switzer, Shwisher, or Sheister. Not. Even. Close. And don’t get me started on my oldest son’s name. Everyone who calls or emails without knowing him thinks he’s a girl, and even if they do know he’s a boy, they ALWAYS spell it incorrectly (the girls’ way). ARGH!

    Liked by 1 person

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  19. avalinakreska says:

    My maiden name was Talman – everyone called me Tallman. I’m short and so is my mother; it was a constant source of amusement to hear my mother spell it out in her ‘put on’ posh accent! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Jenni Le pard says:

    Heheheh this tickled me. Always loved getting called Jenni Le Turd.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Would you have preferred Def Leppard? Jackie’s is a good one. She was given a Tesco clubcard in the name of Nite. She rang them up to correct the spelling. She got one bearing the name Night. Again she rang. Spelling out, she said her name was Knight ‘with a K’. They sent another at which point she gave up. Her statements forever after are sent to Mrs Nike

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Rachel M says:

    It could be worse. I once knew a Pidcock and there’s also Longbottom which wouldn’t be fun for a kid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Well when my law firm merged with a German outfit we gained the extraordinarily difficult named partner from Düsseldorf Bernd Kunth, pronounced as you wouldn’t want it to be as an Anglo Saxon. Cross selling has never been so tricky.

      Like

  23. I’m always impressed if anyone gets any part of my name right. Most people assume there’s only one way to spell my first name – “never seen it spelt like that before” – until you remind them that they used to watch The Goodies. Cumming had the obvious “going” references when I was a child, even though they still insisted on adding the superfluous “s”, or even removed the “g” and added the “s”. In later years, the references became more euphemistic, but anyone aware of my sense of humour will know that appeals to me anyway.
    The best part about it, though, is that it’s different enough to stand out from the crowd. And that’s the great thing about your name, Geoff. Wear it with pride, and enjoy the variations you come across – even the ones that seem to bear no relation to the original

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Geoff, it’s a lovely name — first and last. But that’s really funny about your mom and the envelopes. It makes me wish I had kept some of mine.
    I know people are going to get my name wrong, and I usually manage to not let it bother me… Unless i’ve already corrected them two times. After four years a coworker keeps calling me Genevieve. Not only does she switch my first and last names, she doesn’t get “Geneviene” at all… despite multiple times when I’ve gently corrected her.
    Finally, on the shuttle bus between campuses at work, I said “Michelle, there is no Genevieve. There never was a Genevieve in the first place.”
    Did it work. Not really. But now she just stops and gapes at me after she has said hello… the only thing she can seem to remember is that there is no Genevieve.
    But pity the poor fool who calls me Gwenevere… I have much less restraint. Mega hugs!

    Like

    • TanGental says:

      Well admission time. I read you as a genevieve until I typed that in Google hunting for your blog and it didn’t show up. Resorting to the reader I related my *cringes mistak

      Like

  25. Rowena says:

    Well, I’ve really enjoyed your post Geoff as well as the entertaining comments. My experiences are pretty lame in comparison. I couldn’t pronounce Rowena as a small child so I was called Nina until I started high school. Unfortunately, this coincided with Abba’s: “Nina Pretty Ballerina”. While this could have been seen as a compliment, the way it was said in that droning teasing way, was anything but and being a sensitive child, I was shattered. I look back at it now and wonder why I got so upset.
    I came across a fabulous article about baby names by Australian comedian, Wendy Harmer and thought you’d enjoy it: http://thehoopla.com.au/top-10-1-ways-baby/#sthash.nwUPvdkN.qSud700N.dpbs
    Hope you’re having a great weekend, Geoff and watch out for those leopards!
    xx Ro
    PS Geoff said that it’s just as well it was a Le and not a La Pard. That it makes a difference in French. I had to read many of these funny stories out to him to keep interrupting his movie!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. joey says:

    Oh goodness. Yes, I relate totally. I have the odd first name of Jolene, which people somehow manage to confuse with every other Jo name available — usually Joann and Johanna for some reason. Then I have a typically male middle name, Michael, which people want to turn into Michelle so that it fits their guidelines for propriety. For years I was a Packard which was swell, because everyone could say it and spell it. Now I’m a Mottern, and this is the worst name ever. People say Motrin, Motorin, Moturn, Motterin. Very annoying.
    You’ll be pleased to know, had I been a boy, I would have been a Geoffrey.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Ali Isaac says:

    Never a problem with Walker, but Isaac, that’s one people seem to struggle mightily with. Surprising, huh?

    Liked by 1 person

  28. TanGental says:

    Love your Arabic Name. Sounds like a sort of Passpartout for your hero

    Like

  29. Blytepad! Fantastic 😅 . The Textiliste may remember the couple who lived in the flat downstairs – one time, I saw a letter addressed to Mr R Tomato!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. jan says:

    I think Geoff Le Pard is a cool name. My real last name is always mis-pronounced and misspelled but Twissel (which is an acronym of sorts) they seem to remember!

    Liked by 1 person

  31. The best part of those envelopes is knowing that someone actually sat down and wrote that, never thinking “this is definitely the correct way. Not the other way”. I get Spalding, Sparkling, Spelling, and was once memorably Sparang. I spend my life saying things like IT. IS. PHONETIC. The best one I ever saw however was a German friend called Knut who got a typed letter from the Irish Dept. of Agriculture in the 1970s. They swapped the K for a C, fiddled about a bit with the 2 middle letters, and the rest you can work out for yourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TanGental says:

      Ah Germans. Yes my former colleague Bernd Kunth from Dusseldorf who made no concessions to Anglo saxon pronunciation. And Sparkling sounds like you!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Better that than the others! I was mistakenly set up with ‘tara.sparkling’ logins and email addresses by the IT depts. of 2 different companies I worked for on 2 different continents. I also used to get “welcome, Clarice… we’ve been expecting you” e-mails from IT depts. It would appear that IT depts. are all hilarious in the same way 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • TanGental says:

        Oh yes that’s my experience too. Naturally funny people those IT moles

        Liked by 1 person

  32. Norah says:

    No wonder you have such a great sense of humour! You need it just to survive! 🙂

    Like

  33. greercn says:

    I get Greer spelled so many ways that I consider becoming the initial “G”, just for simplicity, Thank you for a very funny piece of writing which made me guffaw.

    Like

  34. stevetanham says:

    Loved it, Geoff! As a Tanham, you can imagine the variations are many: Tanner, Panam, Tandem, Turnham and many more. Pronunciation is also a challenge, Brits find it hard till I’ve said it slowly, but for some reason, Americans get it first time! I think it’s because they naturally draw out the ‘Taan haam’ so it’s no trouble to them.

    Ah the challenges…

    Liked by 1 person

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