Sunday, 17 June 2007

Name Game

Like many Pinoys of my generation, I have two English first names.

I do remember that it was rather frustrating having to write "Jerri Michael Ambion" across a sheet of pad paper for every subject, every day of the school year when I was in elementary. During those times when I was begining to learn how to write, I was more concerned with the length of my name; imagine using those fancy-colored pencils to write an eighteen-letter name in a span of time that is sufficient enough for your seatmate to write hers twice. And add the fact that very few people would call you by your whole name, and you might understand why a seven-year old student would beg for a shorter one.

For sure, you'd say that we have nicknames for that. Speaking of which, my mom once mentioned that she didn't give much thought about my nickname. That is the reason why I am addressed Michael at home until now. (Just a few years ago, Mom said that she should have considered JM instead of Michael; I wish she did.)

When I started studying at St. Paul, my teachers used to call me Jerri Michael. But I think they'd dropped the Michael after some time, and that was why I am known as Jerri at school.

Personally, I didn't mind; after all, Michael is such a common name. I remember that I never ran out of classmates who were named Michael. But Jerri is more uncommon; I don't recall coming across any Jerry, Gerry, or Jerri's until I went to WU-P during college (I had a classmate named Gerry for a semester). Well, that's why I never made any effort to think of a new nickname even after studying. ^_^

Among all those numerous interviews I had (job interviews, scholarship interviews, etc.) one of the first few questions never failed to include, "What is your nickname?" My reply had been the same: Jerri at school, Michael at home, please feel free to choose :P (those were the times before I started to use Jherskie as my pseudonym in cyberspace, or I'd have included that as well)

At least I get to use both of the first names, unlike my two officemates who also have two English first names: Michael Allen and Michael Arthur. Michael Allen's nickname is Myk while Michael Arthur is Mic. But since both are pronounced the same way, life in the office takes a turn into confusion especially when the phone rings, and the caller is looking for "Mike." Here's a sample conversation...

Phone rings. Jherskie (that'd be me ^_^) picks it up.

Jherskie: ACeS, good morning (or afternoon, or evening, whichever).

Caller: Uhm, hello. Can I talk to Sir Mike/Michael?

Jherskie: Er... Which Mike?

And that's not including the instances when the caller has an Indonesian accent, and who'd start talking so fast like, "Hello Michael, regarding our current testing equipment's configuration..." without first allowing you to explain that he's talking to the wrong Michael.

To differentiate between the two, I made up a naming convention based on the spelling of their nicknames: Myk is YK while Mic is IC. So we used to have conversations like this a few months ago...

Jherskie: YK is going down today after the E1 shift, while IC will go up in time for the L2 shift.

Macel (an officemate): Ah, Okie. Roger that. So I can go to the mall by 2PM and come back up here before 10PM...

Jherskie: Please bring up some food with you. Hehe.

We still call them that way these days, but only when necessary. We've already adjusted to those two, at any rate.

But when I feel like it, I'd join the confusion and the poor caller will have three Mike's to look for.

Just a side note, my name wasn't the longest in the class back in first grade. Jenn Aure Marie Villaroza (I hope I got the spelling right), or Jenn, had. I don't recall her complaining about it, though. Come to think of it, I wasn't talking to her (and most of the class for that matter) since I was too much of an introvert back then.

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