Monday, June 28, 2010

PHARON = Eleven Points in Scrabble

This afternoon, I got a phone call at work. I answered methodically, “Hello, this is Pharon” and they asked, “Can I speak with Pharon?” I was quiet for a moment, biting my tongue, and replied, “Yes, this is Pharon”. Duh. “Oh,” he continued, “I thought you were a guy”. Now, if this were a rare occurrence, I probably wouldn’t write about it. But the fact that it happens a handful of times every week got me thinking. Then this link came up on Twitter from Mental Floss (a HIGHLY enjoyable time-waster!) Baby Naming Laws How appropriate! An article on names that are off-limits in other countries? Yes please! Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the name Pharon wasn’t listed anywhere as an off-limit name. Not even in Japan! But I gotta wonder, “what’s in a name”? Or more importantly, “What’s in MY name”?

My name is made up. The way I’ve heard the story, my parents used Scrabble tiles. They put a ‘P’ down, and just went to town adding letters after it. I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters, all of whose names start with P. It’s a tradition that I used to think was lame and contrived. But now, I have every intention of carrying that tradition on in my own family. But still, “Pharon”? I mean, what does that even mean? The answer, of course, is Nothing. It doesn’t mean anything. I have been burdened, or blessed, with the responsibility to define my own name. No one grew up with a zillion Pharons in their class. And no one knew a Pharon who pushed a helpless girl off the top of the twirly slide in third grade just because the poor girl wasn’t paying attention and didn’t go down the slide fast enough, which caused her to skin her knee, miss recess, and have to sit in the nurses office while all the other kids played kickball outside. No. As far as I’m concerned, there is not another Pharon, evil or otherwise.

So all my life, I’ve been like this ambiguous mystery. Am I a boy or a girl? Do I have a good sense of humor because my name is weird, or am I just weird? Am I clever or am I automatically a disappointment because I’m not as creative as my name? It’s all there. And for all intents and purposes, I am solely responsible for the definition of myself. Because no one knows what to expect from a Pharon, do they?

Well, I’ve gone ahead and decided what to expect if you ever meet a girl named Pharon. Pharon’s are sometimes lazy. We like pretending we know how to do stuff, like write in HTML, change a flat tire, or walk with grace. We are loyal, and sometimes jealous. We’re dog people. We are thoughtful when necessary and can be downright nasty when angry. We’ve got freakishly small feet. And we know what counts: our family, our friends, and a hammock on our front porch.

But I’m pretty happy to be the only Pharon I’ll probably ever know. No one compares me to someone else, no one confuses me with that other Pharon, and no one ever says, “Wow, you do NOT seem like a Pharon.” ‘Cause honestly, who else would I be?

1 comment:

cindi said...

I knew a Pharon who was advertent, alive, attentive, bright, clear-sighted, comprehending, considering, contemplating, correct, deducing, detecting, discerning, discovering, discriminating, eager, eagle-eyed, heedful, intelligent, intentive, interested, keen, mindful, not missing a trick, obedient, observative, on one's toes, on the ball, penetrating, perceptive, questioning, quick, regardful, searching, sensitive, sharp, sharp-eyed, surveying, understanding, vigilant, (Yeah - I used a Thesaurus - so what?)