I’m having a real hard time not making a stupid Slim Shady joke somewhere within this prompt.
Names are funny things, people often forget them, mistake them for something else or butcher them completely. My friend Sheila has started an album of pictures on her Facebook of the different ways Starbucks baristas misspell her name. I love it, and as of right now, “Chilla” is my favorite.
I rather like my name. It’s different, but not outlandish, but it’s not all that common either. I’ve had my name spelled “Angila,” “Angella” and I’m often called Angelica or Angie. For some reason, being called Angie has always bothered me, despite having two friends named Angela and Angie growing up… What a trio we were.
The only time anyone has unknowingly messed my name was in 5th grade. My teacher, Mr. Baker, had that honor. Originally from Boston, he still had a thick Bostonian accent. The poor guy. Outside of student teaching, we were his very first class. Ever. A class full of 9 and 10 year olds is overwhelming as it is, but I knew all the kids around me. He had no clue what he was getting into with us.
I remember that year so clearly. The first couple days of school, Mr. Baker went around and learned our names and took a picture of each of us, partly to help him, I’m sure, but also to show us how much we would grow throughout the year. As he went through the roster, he got through about half the class before he got to me… Obviously, since my last name is Morales. Because of his accent, my name came out as “Angeler.” I remember saying that I was here, but that my name was “AngeLUH, not AngeLER.” He looked at me and apologized for his accent and sheepishly continued through the roster. He purposely called me Angeler the rest of the year, making light of what happened.
Out of all my years in school, that year was probably the best. Mr. Bill Baker taught us about tolerance, world views. how to be kind to one another despite our differences and how detrimental it can be if don’t. He was the teacher we could talk to about anything, the one who talked to us like we were people, and the one who would go out and play basketball, four-square and tag during recess.
He was, and is, the coolest, even still.