Subject: The Name Game
The subject of this week’s Pet Peeve is something that I thought I had left behind me when I graduated high school. I was, unfortunately, wrong. Throughout my life I have been very lucky to have an easy to read and easy to pronounce name. I’ve watched friends who have unique and interesting first and last names go through the torture of having a new teacher/new friend/new colleague try to pronounce their name. I witnessed the frustration that they face when someone awkwardly pronounces their name incorrectly.
I have never had that problem. My first name, Meghan, is one of the top 5 names for girls born in my year. My last name, Brown, is the third most common surname in North America. Basically, I am as standard as they go. And while I did have to prove that I was NOT Meghan Brown, the serial killer from Saskatchewan once or twice, I really enjoy my easy name.
SO, here is what I don’t understand. When I took French immersion in high school, my teachers would CHANGE my name altogether. I became Meghan Brun. This infuriated me. At what point did it become okay for someone to change your name altogether to fit their language?
My place of work is located in downtown Gatineau, and I have recently fallen victim to the language name-change once again. Again, Meghan Brun has apparently entered the building, and I’m NOT pleased. When I was in Italy, I didn’t magically become Meghan Marrone (although that does have a nice ring to it). My boyfriend’s last name is Deschamps, but I don’t walk around calling him Shaun ‘From the Fields’. And when I run into my neighbour, Mr. Leblanc, I don’t ask him how Mr. White is doing. (I assumed he wouldn’t know, since that’s not him.)
And so, kind nuts, I beg of you, please call me Meghan Brown. I’ve had the name for 22 years and I’m quite fond of it. Meghan BRUN has officially left the building…in a nutshell.