There are people in the world that know me by the name Thad.
When I was working at the corporate behemoth of Walmart, I designed a plan to make sure that no customer that I had offended was ever going to be able to complain to the almost-dictatorial managerial staff.
I took a nametag from the personnel office and decided to put another name on there. Then, I would put that nametag behind my actual one. If I offended a customer which was fairly likely given my tendency to be rude and abrupt with others, I would switch the tags. That way the customer couldn't point me out.
I just needed a name to place on the tag.
At that time, Fairmont State University had a basketball player by the name of Thad McFadden. Sensing that it was short for Thaddeous (this is how I spelled the name but it's not actually a common way of doing that), I chose the name. Also, my favorite writer, Clay Travis, was going through an outrageous names phase and I wanted to join the club.
One of my coworkers quickly pointed out that the customer could still recognize me.
Sadly, that was the end of the nametag plan but I always kept it there as a means of reminding myself to not take the day too seriously. Occasionally, as a way of expressing my dissatisfaction with the managers, I would wear the nametag.
An employee that was just as averse to the managers as I was and I quickly became friends during one of the days that I wore the nametag. And so he and his friends call me Thad.
I left the company a few months later. And I decided to place the nametag inside of my car as a reminder of working there. Just as an aside, my wife and I have 18 box-cutters from Walmart.
All this writing about names reminds me of my wife's English name saga. I guess because Chinese words are difficult for Americans to pronounce, the University of Charleston had each Chinese student pick out an English name.
Some were fairly ridiculous. One of my wife's friends was called Finch and another was called Temper. My wife chose Juanita because the first four letters are her actual name in Pinyin English.
Most Americans say both her actual name and her English name in the Spanish vernacular. So, she changed to Shirley (the name my family knows her by), used Anna for a while, used Elane for a while, and finally settled on Jenn.
This resulted in me referring to my wife as Elane and my parents referring to her as Shirley. It's a wonder we haven't confused each other before now.
One final note on names: the greatest name ever belongs to Louisiana State sophomore offensive lineman La'El Collins. That's one heck of a name right there.
Sadly, the Walmart nametag stickers did not contain apostrophes or I would have been called T'had.
- Matt Christian is a Princeton Times reporter. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @MattyWrites.