What’s in a name?

Shelley Blundell

For years, I have suffered from a common but annoying ailment: The constant misspelling of my first name. My mom and dad, in their infinite “new parent wisdom,” decided to name me Shelley. With two E’s. Never in their wildest dreams do I think they imagined the excrement storm they unleashed upon me at the tender age of a few hours. And now here I sit, at the ripe old age of 25, still dealing with something the city barely managed to spell right on my birth certificate.

During my life I have received mail for Sheila Blumdell, Shelly Bloomenbell and my personal favorite, Sheldon Blondfield – Mr. Sheldon Blondfield.

As a journalism student and fourth-semester Daily Kent Stater employee, the importance of correct spelling has been drummed into my head for many moons now. To the average Joe (or Ghoe, or Jjoeyy as the case may be), one might wonder “Big deal, someone misspells your name, does it really matter?” The answer? Absolutely.

Ask yourself the question: If there was a story written about you in a newspaper or a magazine, be it relatively small or quite large scale, would you or would you not be offended by an incorrect spelling of your name?

Take it one step further: There is a story written about, say, a serial-killing, gingerbread-eating, mass-marble collecting maniac and the newspaper that covers his arrest accidentally misspells his name. Even more accidentally, the misspelling just happens to be the way you spell your name, to the letter.

Now you’re getting weird gingerbread marble confections thrown at you every time you walk past the pet store and you have no idea why.

While the last example might be a little nonsensical, there is a grain of sanity in it. Mistakes can sometimes be costly, especially when that mistake appears in print, no matter who the audience is.

Consider this in your own life, both personal and professional. When putting together a resume with a cover letter directed to a specific person at a company or organization, make sure you have the correct spelling of the person you are sending your resume to on the cover letter, even if it requires a phone call to the offices of said person.

How professional do you think the business will consider you if you can’t even correctly spell the name of their human resource director? If you didn’t care enough to take time to find out how his or her name is spelled, chances are you won’t give two bananas about professionalism on the job, either.

So to all you miserable Marys (or Merrys, or Malarys) out there who have been victim of the wrong name wars, take heart: you are not alone.

Shelley Blundell is a senior magazine journalism and history major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]. And that’s Shelley, with two e’s.