Thursday, February 7, 2013

Unephen Stephen

Is it possible to write a blog post so self-centered that nobody in the world could be interested in it but the writer?

Let's find out, shall we?

I've always had a bumpy relationship with my name. First, nobody can spell it. It's S-t-e-p-h-e-n. People spell it "Steven", or people pronounce it "Steffan"; once I ordered something over the phone and said, "That's Stephen with a PH", and the box came addressed to "Steven PH". Sometimes I feel like shouting, "It's in the g*dd*mn Bible!" but perhaps that would be poorly received.

(Saint Stephen was famous for getting stoned. Dude.)

As Stephen Colbert said, "Stevens who spell it with a 'v' are jerks." We have King and Hawking and Foster and Fry. All the bad guys have is Spielberg. Yet nobody seems to recognize the name anymore. And then there's the basketball player Stephen Marbury... he pronounces it "Steffan".

Then there's "Cornman", the world's most boring superhero.

Or everybody wants to spell it "Corman".  And if you type it in Arial, it comes out "Comman"... Cornman.And I have to carefully count the bumps in script r...n...m... when I sign my name.

...and an entire childhood being called Corny, Cornball, Cornbread, Corn Chex, Cornhole... I felt different enough without that, too. (Life would have been easier if I'd taken my mom's name, Davis.)

At least I get to say I had to be an English teacher because my name is five nouns: Step. Hen. John. Corn. Man. That's kind of cool, but then again the middle name is either a toilet or a prostitute's customer. Can't win.

The one thing I almost never am anymore is Steve. I usually assume, if I hear "Steve", that there's another Steve in the room.

All of the kids, of course, and the Korean staff, and most of the teachers (as they are much younger) call me Mr. Cornman. And almost all of my friends in Korea are hashers, so to them I'm Corndog... which, unlike the Corny names I listed above, I love. Stephen Emerson... sorry, Ralph Waldo Emerson... said "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." I am usually consistent and always foolish, and when I get up in the morning I'm a hobbling goblin, so I can live with that.
Sometimes the Korean kids say  옥수수 인간, oksusu ingan... "Corn person". That's kinda cool.

And Kat always calls me "Corn". And Val always calls me "Cornman". And Scarlett Johansson doesn't call at all.

Probably she doesn't like my name.

No comments: