One of the things that never fails to crack me up is remembering a conversation my brother Luke once had with a customer service representative. When she asked him how he was doing, in that polite but rote way customer service representatives have of asking you things, he somehow got supremely flustered—in what I can only imagine was the sort of bumbling Englishman stereotype for which we have good old Hugh Grant to thank—and ended up conflating "not so bad" and "pretty well."
And how are you doing today, Mr Burns?
Ah, not so well.
I don't know why, but every time I remember this—hell, even right now while I'm typing it—I end up snickering. Can you imagine what that poor customer service representative thought? Man, this guy's a real downer. What, I have to hear about his gallbladder surgery now? Just say fine and give me your mother's maiden name, buddy, so I can look up your account.
Another thing that makes me laugh is imagining what I might have been called if my parents had decided to name me after themselves. This actually happened to my friend Elisabeth's friend, who ended up with a name that I can't even remember now but was definitely some combination of a dude's name and a lady's name and was therefore difficult to both pronounce and spell.
Upon finding out that this was an actual thing real people actually did, I polled all my friends to find out what their parents' names were, and started amassing a small but hilarious collection of them in my head to cheer me up on rainy days. Some of my favorites from the list were:
Dolberto (Dolores and Roberto)
Marjerryet (Margaret and Jerry)
Dick (Deb and Mick)
My most favorite of all, however, was Christeve, which is an amalgamation of Christine and Steve. Can you imagine introducing yourself to people as Christeve? It sounds so......so smooth. I want the person who introduces themselves as Christeve to do it with that super fakeout handshake where you end up slicking your own hair back right at the last minute instead of shaking the other person's hand. While also wearing really shiny mirrored sunglasses. Indoors. In an airport.
My own combined-parents-name, in case you were wondering, would be Patralison, which sounds like either a low-end brand of tequila or a high-end chain of gas stations. Also a nightmare to write on those Starbucks cups, so thank goodness that didn't pan out.