Thursday, January 5, 2012

Southern and still not Shirley

Please forgive my manners and allow me to introduce myself.  I'm a southern born and raised woman whose vocabulary includes the word y'all.  I eat grits and fatback and believe butter is a vegetable. (well, it is! isn't it?) Some folks will say my home State, named for the Virgin Queen, is not a part of the south, but I beg to differ.  Sweet iced tea, lemon cakes, fried chicken (cooked in Crisco), homemade biscuits, fresh pies and cakes and good 'ole hospitality, makes this beautiful place the very heart of all southern life.  And as a southerner, I think it is quite impolite to call someone's name incorrectly.

Shakespeare penned the famous words "what's in a name?"  That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Well, sorry Billy boy, but my name is part of my identity.  It makes me....ME!  And besides, calling me Shirley just doesn't sound or smell very sweet. My name is Shirletta (pronounced Shir-leeta).  I cannot figure for the life of me how people think my name is Shirley.  Ok. I will give people the benefit of the doubt (when they call me Shirley) because it is quite possible my name is lost in translation.  I do have a southern drawl and I tend to speak quickly. 

So just how do the offenders make this big mistake?  I have a hypothesis. It appears when I say my name, the "shir" part is clearly heard.  After that,  the ears shut down and the offender stops listening which causes them to completely miss the middle syllable and the "ta" at the end.  The brain takes over and they arrive at Shirley.  Shame on them.  And instead of politely asking me  to repeat myself, the conversation becomes replete with me being addressed as someone other than myself.  Yes, yes, yes, I can and often-times do correct them, but I have grown weary of this task.   I believe it is far easier for people to use both ears and listen twice before speaking; a lesson to be applied to all aspects of life.

When it comes to my name, I think the character in the movie  Airplane said it best, "that's not my name and don't call me Shirley!"

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