The problems of having an unusual name

If your name is CHRIMES, you will know the problems already. Speaking your name when asked for it can lead to expressions of disbelief. Giving your name over the telephone can be particularly troublesome. I tend to over-compensate by dragging out each letter with long gaps between. I've had "oh, that's a strange one - er, sorry I mean an unusual one", "you don't hear that one very often", "where's that from?".....

More problematic are the attempts of people to pronounce your name from the written word. How often have I seen people stare at the name C H R I M E S then say Grimes! Chimes is more common, but my favourite is the man who valiantly attempts to pronounce each letter, resulting in CH-R-IMES. Even I have difficulty with that.

On the plus side, once someone has properly grasped your name, they are not going to forget it quickly! Also, if someone is trying to find you on a computer database of, say, shop customers, then they do not take long to find you, because you're probably the only CHRIMES on the list. I sense that with the advance of multi-cultural UK, there are more unusual surnames in the population and so everyone is becoming more tolerant of them. CHRIMES no longer stands out as being so different. Or is it that I am just mellowing with age, and letting any problems just flow over me?

Return to List of Stories