Confession: Name tags confuse me. I can never quite see the point of them.
They seem to be made for the purpose of avoiding surface introductions and cutting right to the heart of the matter, such as discussing the weather, say, or the quality of the coffee. However, they do not work. They are usually written in too small a script, or too fancy, or too faint—at the very least in unfamiliar handwriting—so that they do not produce enlightening information for my neighbor, but simply the compulsion to squint at my bosom and say, “So, you are—?”
Since the first syllable is all they can decipher, I always help them out before they drag it on too long without taking a breath and pass out cold on the floor. I am not so good at resuscitation and would hate to start now.
“I’m Shari Zook,” I say—which rather defeats the purpose of the name tag but is quite obviously begging to be said—and brace myself for their next words, which are nearly always “Ah! Are you related to my friend Marvin Zook?”
(Or Miriam Zook, or Martha Zook, or Michael Zook, ad infinitum)
At this point I smile politely and carefully explain that ten years ago I married into an Oregonian branch of Zooks, which is almost entirely if not wholly unconnected to any Zooks around here. I am not sure why I feel the need to explain this. Next time I think I shall say severely “No, my dear, I am not! And if you ask me one more time I shall almost certainly lose my temper.”
Now having settled the matter of my name, the squinting at my place of origin begins…
On the other hand, they undoubtedly lend us an air of distinction and grandeur, if tastefully done. Also if we are good readers they may be useful for drive-by identifications, finding out why that lady looks so familiar while pretending to be simply walking past on our way to the bathroom. Yes, they have their virtues. Perhaps they are worthwhile after all, though I cannot be sure; and you must agree they are confusing.
My own is most confusing of all. I become suddenly uncertain of what this Shari Zook tag is all about, concerned that we may have tacked it on abruptly so we had a sort of convenient handle by which to catch hold of me, and it may not be getting near the core of the matter at all–?
Could you please just call me Cordelia?
I just returned from a super-lovely weekend with super-lovely name tags. I saw some of you there, and your words of encouragement were sweet. Cheers!