“A rose by any other name is still a rose.”
— William Shakespeare
As I got a ride back to the car dealership tonight for our fixed-up van, I had a pleasant conversation. The driver and I chatted about schools, rental cars and the all-to-rare sun. Trivial things, that probably won’t be remembered.
Yesterday, I got a ride from another driver. We chatted about things like the sun as well. We also discovered that we were both from the midwest – I from Iowa, he from Ohio. We talked about the Great Lakes and it turns out this gentleman had an interesting connection with history.
His neighbor was the brother of the captain of the Edmund Fitzgerald. On that fateful day, Capt. Ernest M. McSorley was on his penultimate voyage before retirement.
For those of you who didn’t grow up with a connection to the lakes, the Edmund Fitzgerald was a tanker that went famously down in a storm on Lake Superior in the 70’s. Gordon Lightfoot immortalized the loss in his famous song, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The entire crew was lost along with Capt. McSorley. Yet, his name will live on.
If a person holds power, gets elected to office, is rich, or wins a championship, we remember his or her name. Even if they were the captain of a doomed ship, we remember their name.
I don’t think that will change. On the other hand, do we even ask the name of the lady behind the counter at the 7-11? Do we think about asking the name of the guy who fixed our car?
Why bother? After all, what’s in a name?
A person. That’s who.
Today’s small gift of time … When I said good bye to my two drivers, I asked their names. Nick and Walt.
Beautiful write up Eric. Thank you for sharing. For anyone, their name is the most important word and it more than helps to bond with people by addressing them with their names.
And here I am almost leaving a comment without including my name 🙂
Thanks, Sri! It’s an interesting thought that a name is the most important word in a person’s life.
I know that names are precious, but sometimes addressing a stranger by name seems contrived. At our grocery store, the receipt prints out with my name on it. The clerk reads the receipt and then says, “Thank you, Mrs. Stevenson.” My husband reads their name tag and says, “Thank you, Ruth.” We all don’t know each other, but there’s this protocol for grocery clerks to try and make it personal. Maybe I’m just being a little curmudgeonly this morning, but if somebody is going to call me by name, shouldn’t there be some conversation attached?
I don’t know if there’s a protocol, or should be, but let me ask this.
If you know a person’s name, are you more or less likely to say hello and converse with them if you see them again?
In my own experience, if I learn a person’s name, I’m much more likely to say hello and have a conversation with them the next time I see them. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s “just” a clerk in the grocery store, or my neighbor.
That gives me a warm feeling, because if I know their name and have a conversation with them, then my world is a little less cold and impersonal.
Just my 2 cents. Thanks for the thoughts, Natalie.