Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: March 8, 2010 Archive

Ask Dr. Heartlander

Posted at 6:00 AM on March 8, 2010 by Dale Connelly (33 Comments)
Filed under: Ask Dr. Heartlander

Dear Dr. Heartlander,

When I tell a stranger my name they usually do one of two things - laugh out loud or pause for a moment to gather their composure before saying something like "that's a really unusual name. Where'd you get it?"
And then they laugh out loud.

I always reply "I got my name from my parents, same as most people. "

The conversation that follows goes something like this:

Stranger: "Well, you certainly must have an interesting job."

Me: "Depends on what you mean by 'interesting'."

Stranger: "Like, you know, a singer. Or a cowboy or something. Or a singing cowboy. Is that what you do?"

Me: "No, I can't carry a tune and I don't like animals."

Stranger: "Well whatever you do, it must be something special. You can't have an ordinary job with a name like the one you've got."

Me: "I'm a custodian at a bowling alley. "

Stranger: "No, that's not it. You must be an author. A romance writer. Or science fiction. Or science fiction romances!
Can I have your autograph?"

People refuse to believe that I don't have an exotic job or an exciting life. No matter how hard I try to prove to them that I am as ordinary as dirt, they wind up thinking I am "amazing" and "wonderful" because of my name. I feel like I am living a lie! How can I end this nightmare?

Sincerely,
Orbison Blackhoof

Sigmund_Freud_small.jpg

Dear Orbison Blackhoof,

Your name is your name, and you do not need to suffer through someone else's impression of what it means. Never apologize for being a custodian in a bowling alley. Cleanliness is essential for bowling. Not enough alleys focus on it.

Concerning the expectations of others - nuts to them. Only you can define what it means to be Orbison Blackhoof, so go ahead and keep oiling those lanes and let others think your head is full of breathless beauties with heaving bosoms, or space battles or cowboys running free over the western plains, or drunks singing in a bar if that is what your name conjures for them.

The expectations of strangers are not your concern. It diminishes you to spend even a moment worrying about it. Why should you? After all, you're Orbision Blackhoof !

But that's just one opinion. What do you think Dr. Heartlander?

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