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May 26, 2009 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Jenyfyrr

How do you know Maleesha is a little old person inside?  By watching her read a newspaper, of course.  She flips straight to the obituaries. 

Okay, part of this obsession is due to my restaurant days…I waited on a LOT of crabby old people and I like to check to see if I recognize any of the pictures.  I’ve recognized many…though I am always interested to learn some of the names that I didn’t know.  It turns out that “Poached Egg on Wheat Toast” was a Thomas, and “Chicken Fried Steak with Extra Gravy” was a Phil.  You would not be shocked to hear that “Egg Whites on Unbuttered Wheat Toast, No Salt, One Slice of Tomato on a Separate Plate, and Fresh Fruit” was a Bianca.

In my illustrious hometown, births and deaths go on the same page as wedding announcements and high crime.  So while browsing the death and the meth, I happen upon the new babies.  These are fun to look through too, because I often see names of high school friends in there as “New Parents.”  What always fascinates me about baby names is the absolute crazy effort that naming has become to differentiate the child for all of his/her life. 

I was born a Maleesha, so I have a deep understanding of names and their impact over a life.  Here’s a quick chart of my name over the years:

***

“Maleesha”

0-2  (Getting Acquainted)

Mom: “this is my daughter Melissa.”

Dad: “MaLEEsha.  It’s MaLEEEEsha.”

Mom: “What?”

3 -5 (Learning about the Typo)

Teacher: “Is Mareesha present?”

Shy girl: “here”

6-10 (Somehow she’s different)

All the girls in elementary: “Sorry.  You can’t be in our club unless you have a jean jacket.”

Me: “But I finally got a jean jacket.”

All: “Oh.  Well, new rule…your name has to end in an “ie, ey, or y” to be in our club now.

Me:  “Fuck!”

11-18 (Finds that name is overly long and signatures will suck for a lifetime)

Roll Call: Sam, Ann, Jen A., Jen J., Ken, Bill, John, Pam, Lisa, Cal, Dawn, Maaaaaaleeeeeeeeeshhaaaaaaaa

18-25 (Learns about other cultures)

“Are you Maleesha?  I thought you’d be black.”

26+ (Blends into the Weird Names movement of America)

People pronounce name just fine…no one blinks…nothing surprises anyone anymore!

***

Anyway, this whole post is supposed to be about weird ass names.  I guess I don’t have too much to say, more of a question for you, really.  What is the difference between the following names:

  • Jennifer
  • Jennipher (the ORIGINAL Jenn with a PH!  Go J.J.D!!!!)
  • Gennifer
  • Jenifer
  • Jenyfer
  • Jennyfyr

Are they all Jennifers at heart?  Do they squeeze any real identity from the modified Jennifer spelling, or are any potential gains made moot by the spelling problems and the pronunciation gaffes that inevitably crop up?  Does a Jhennefaire wish, deep down, that she had been just a regular Jennifer?

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7 Comments

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  1. teeni / Jun 3 2009 9:05 pm

    Don’t forget Ginnifer like the actress Ginnifer Goodwin. Or maybe that isn’t a different spelling but a totally new name. I don’t know anymore. Confused. 😉

  2. MamaPeg is Watching Out for You / May 31 2009 10:07 am

    My husband is named Shelden – with an e
    Alas, we have had to initial so much paperwork because someone felt compelled to spell his name “correctly”. I love your name, Maleesha.

    thank you!

  3. Jobyna / May 29 2009 8:57 am

    Amen.
    And I am sure you have heard, “Oh, that’s an unusual name.” Seriously, why don’t they just say, “That’s a weird freakin’ name?”
    So I say, just call me Joby, it is easier.
    “Oh..how do you spell that?” However the heck you want, at this age, I really don’t care.
    And when I order food and they want my name, “Edna” is what they get. And then my food gets cold because I forget my name is Edna.
    Thanks for blogging Maleesha, you often make my day!

    Hey Joby! I know exactly what you mean. My restaurant/store name is “Amy.” Then I forget, too!

  4. Rambleicious / May 28 2009 8:04 am

    I hear you on difficult names: my mother is English (from England) and Dad’s side is all Scots so what do they give me? A French name.

    As names go, I guess ‘Renee’ is OK, but no one ever seems to say or spell it right (“Is Reenie here? Reenie?”) Plus, when I lived in Ottawa all the lectures about how I was failing Quebec culture by not speaking French as my name implies.

    Bah.

  5. Christine / May 27 2009 7:33 pm

    I had a few jean jackets. 😆

  6. smalltownsmalltimes / May 27 2009 6:16 pm

    How about Jodi with an “i” – so cheesey mid-’60’s. All I ever wanted was an “ie” like Jodie Foster. You’d think now that I’m older, I could just add an e, right? Nah, I couldn’t do it to my mom even though she strapped me with the ultimate cheesey spelling.

  7. crisitunity / May 27 2009 5:46 am

    My name is the equivalent of Jenifer – not that unusual, but just enough that you’re going to be correcting people for your entire stinkin’ life. And a big part of me (the part that would gladly trade uniqueness for all the damn correction) wishes I’d just been Jennifer.

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