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    Spell My Name Right, Please!

    Did you guys happen to notice the clever typo in the newspaper headline last week? I was referred to as "Spria." Now, like everybody else, I’ve had my name misspelled many times in my life. But the thing is, the correct spelling is directly under my picture. So I think it takes a lot of creative energy to misspell.

    Herman actually vehemently disagrees. Since he’s been putting out a little literary magazine quarterly, he’s sure typo’s and misspellings generate themselves in the oddest places. Case in point, my last name is a perfect example. Being in bold, headline type, it just about jumps off the page at you. But all in the name of human error, I’ll let it go. I just couldn’t leave it without a comment from me.

    I’ve had an interesting play of names over the years. (By the way, it’s pronounced Spy-ra, like a foreign spy, not Speera, which is how most people tend to pronounce it.) Back in high school I was called Spyrogyra, like the jazz musical group. Of course the jazz group didn’t exist back then, it was just a clever pseudonym for "pond scum." Kids can be so cruel. Oh, then there was "Spiarrhea" (you know, like "diarrhea"), but that didn’t catch on, fortunately!

    I think all kids have their names made into nicknames and jokes by other kids trying to make themselves feel better by putting someone else down. I was not one to make fun of people’s names. Probably because I was sick of having it done to me.

    Typo’s, of course, are different in that they are unintentional. They are on paper though, and that rubs me the wrong way because it is somehow more permanent. My name is NOT SPRIA! (Although it could be a fine name. It’s just not mine.) In fact, a friend of ours has a daughter named Pria (Hi, Ken!). A very pretty name for a very pretty girl.

    Herman tells me that all his life growing up his name was made fun of. But it wasn’t his last name, but rather his first. (Herman is a pseudonym, by the way. He doesn’t like to be referred to in the paper on a regular basis.) Worse, in school he was made fun of because he was the only country boy (raised on a dairy farm) who was placed in the accelerated class in junior high and high school. So it was probably more just that he was an unknown-the odd man out kind of thing.

    I, on the other hand, was always in the popular group in school. There was plenty of jealousy and in-fighting in that group too, but I "belonged" to the group. Which made it easier in some ways. I think that if you speak to groups of kids not in the "in" group and those who are, you’ll have a very different conversation with each group.

    I wasn’t always in the "in" group, so I know how it feels both ways. So let’s all try to call people y their right names, right spellings and treat everyone as if they are in the "in" group-because we’re all in this together. Till next time, take care.

    "Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake here in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com"