There are few things more annoying than someone getting your name wrong. Sure, you may have an unusual name but, after the first time people hear it, there’s no reason to mis-spell poor Englebert’s name, is there? And we all know that there are several ways to spell Claire and at least two common ways to spell Steven. Likewise, Stewart can only be spelt in two ways, like the aforementioned, or as ‘Stuart’. That’s it.
Yet some people seem to have great difficulty with using the correct spelling. I even have friends who I’ve known for many years that just can’t seem to grasp the fact that my name is spelt the ‘Scottish way’, despite the fact that I’m English. My parents were Haggis lovers I think…
But all of this, although irritating, I can put up with. What bothers me much more is a fairly recent occurrence. Over the last few months, during my working week, people have started to refer to me as ‘Steward’ in emails. That’s not even a name, it’s an occupation.
Why this has happened, I’m not sure. Of course it’s a North American predilection to often pronounce a ‘t’ as a ‘d’, just like it’s English laziness to drop the ‘t’ completely. So maybe this translates to written text too. And it was non-English speakers that started doing it.
But now, like a bird-flu pandemic, this misnomer is spreading. Despite initial resistance, native English speakers have now caught the bug and seem helplessly compelled to annoy me. Even some of those who have, for months on end, been correctly spelling my name have now been inflicted with the disease.
I’ve tried subtly changing a letter of their names when replying, to see if it ‘cures’ them of their ineptitude… maybe that wasn’t so subtle. In fact, they probably just thought that I’m an idiot. If they even noticed at all.
Or maybe, they do actually think that’s my job. But which definition?
- a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others.
- a person who has charge of the household of another, buying or obtaining food, directing the servants, etc.
- an employee who has charge of the table, wine, servants, etc., in a club, restaurant, or the like.
- a person who attends to the domestic concerns of persons on board a vessel, as in overseeing maids and waiters.
- an employee on a ship, train, or bus who waits on and is responsible for the comfort of passengers, takes orders for or distributes food, etc.
Well, I guess that I am administering things as an agent of theirs. I have been known to boss around the intern (servant). And I’m certainly no stranger to commandeering the alcohol in a social setting. I wouldn’t mind overseeing maids (wink wink, nudge nudge). Not sure about number 5 though.
Maybe they do have a point. I guess I should reply in future to anyone who calls me ‘steward’ with his/her job title, or perhaps the job title that I think they should have. I’m sure media agency contacts won’t mind me referring to them as ‘free lunch seeker’, ‘commission junkie’ or ‘egomaniac’.
If they do, then I will have to feign apology. After all, I’m just a humble steward, I know no better.