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Step back — you don’t know me like that

I have a theory about names. I was walking across campus the other day when I suddenly heard mine called out:

“Andrea! Hey, Andrea!”

I turned to see a male face that was friendly but entirely unfamiliar. “Oh, hey — you,” I said, smiling brightly. 

“’Hey, you’?” he responded, faking heartbreak. “After all we’ve been through, all I get is a ‘hey, you’?”

All we’ve been through? Just who had I forgotten here? I decided to keep smiling.

“So why don’t we go out sometime, catch ? Can I give you my number, Ms. Knight?” he asked, twisting the knife. Why did he know my last name?

“Okay, gotcha,” I said, entering his number into my cell phone. “So, how do you spell your name?” I asked, still trying for subtlety.

He raised an eyebrow. “Just the way it sounds,” he responded, and I was trapped.

I used to think that names were meant to set us apart from one another, to make us special or at least easily identifiable. Now I know better.

Names are tools of manipulation.

I propose a revolution. The most common solution I’ve heard for this issue is switching from names to numbers. Re-read the above conversation, replacing “Andrea” with a number of your choosing. The conversation is no less awkward. It just feels like we’re turning into the Borg.  I have the sudden urge to add the line, “You will be assimilated.”

So, no numbers. But I still propose a revolution:

One name to rule them all.

I suggest that we replace all names and titles with “Terry.” It’s nice and gender-unspecific, so we’d never even have to worry about mistaking someone’s gender. Ever called a woman “sir”? I have.

And no one would ever forget anyone else’s name. Can you imagine it? You could speak to anyone in the world without fear. Unless you have nothing in common. Or unless you don’t speak the same language. Or unless he’s a MySpace friend that you’re meeting in real life for the first time, and you didn’t bring a safety buddy, and this guy thinks his baseball bat would greatly enhance your cheekbones.

But don’t the benefits of this revolution outweigh all that?

Stop letting the world manipulate you. Stand out of the crowd as you lead the people toward a worldwide rejection of awkwardness. Brothers and sisters of Terry, we will succeed — we cannot fail!

Resistance is futile.

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