Misspellings

MY NAME is often misspelled and mispronounced. "Lance" becomes "lanch" or "lunch." "Isidore" becomes "Isildur" (the Lord of the Rings character) or "Isidor." "Catedral" becomes "Cathedral"—the most common mistake people commit, even those close to me.

These never fail to surprise me. After all, my name isn't like Cheryl or Sheryl, where one can never be too sure if it begins with an "s" or a "c." The name that my parents gave me bears the traditional spelling of "Lance" and "Isidore," without the unnecessary, useless, bothersome consonants that parents like to inflict on their children these days. My name isn't unique, either, unlike those of my classmates—please see this interesting list.

"Lance" was taken from Lance Morrow, a Time Magazine essayist who wrote about Imelda Marcos' shoes. My mother somehow remembered the essay while I grew in her uterus. "Isidore" is the anglicized version of my father's name.

Consider what happened this past weekend, where my brother Ralph and I squeezed what decent time we could to catch up with each other. We ate at various places where I was asked what my name was. "Isidore," I said, whereupon the cashier or waitress keyed it in the computer before broadcasting it to the world as soon as our food was ready.

I took photos of two receipts we got. I was fascinated. The first was "Isitor."

Isitor

The second was "Isidor," without the terminal "e."

Isidor

I don't blame the waitresses. They had too many things going on in their heads and getting the spelling right was hardly a priority. The unspoken rule must have been: as long as it sounds the same—things should be alright.

I'd seen worse, of course. During the city-wide nutrition quiz bee held at Maryland Elementary School in 2000 and I was declared one of the winners, the emcee called me "Lanceodora." "Is that me?" I asked my coach, who later confirmed my victory. I went up the stage, unsure of whether I should be there, and I was awarded three pink Barbie notebooks as my prize. The judges thought "Lanceodora" was female.

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