Monday, May 27, 2019

Call Me by My Name

Perhaps because I have a difficult last name as well as an academic title, many people I know say 'Hello' but don't call me by name. For some, it might be a habit, a sign of shyness, or an indication of carelessness. In most doctors' offices, which are places of some intimacy where my private life is revealed, I am very rarely called anything. I call it impersonal personal care and try to laugh it off. How different the personal greeting given to dogs and cats when they go to the vet. When I am called 'Jerry,' I am pleased because it is a sign of affection; it is the name my parents gave me. It is my identity. When someone calls me by name, I am grateful that they have remembered who I am; they are saying, 'You matter.' Not to call me by any name, first or last, with or without a prefix (such as Professor, Mr., Dr.) denies me a certain basic dignity. I try my best always to remember the names of those I meet and, if I have forgotten them, to ask the person to remind me. It's important.