Friday, July 15, 2005

my name is (what?)

this story has come up like 3 times in the last week, so i'm putting it here so's i'll feel like i don't have to tell it again for a while.

when we moved to louisiana, i was i the first grade. i seem to recall that it was in the middle of the school year, or towards the beginning of it. on my first day, the guidance counselor type person wasevaluating me to decide what level i was at in math, english, etc. she was sort of interviewing me, trying to find out this stuff. i distinctly remember her asking me some math questions involving apples and oranges and pac man. like if pacman likes apples and you have ten of them and he eats seven, how many will you have left? i remember thinking it was a trick question or something, cos pac man doesn't eat apples, he eats power pellets.
anyway, we're about to go to my new classroom and meet my teacher and classmates. this counselor lady reads my full name, joshua matthew brown, and asks if there's a shorter version i go by, like josh, or matthew, or without thinking, i answer 'matt'. i still dunno why. i think i just wanted to see what would happen. for the record, up to htis point i'd always gone by joshua. josh came later, but my parents still call me joshua. it used to bug me that they had a different, more formal name for me, but i've kinda realized that it seems like they have a special name reserved for their use only, and i like it.
so we get to class, and i'm introduced as matt. to me this is insane, cos my name's not matt, it's joshua. i find it more amusing than anything else. i felt like i had pulled one over on the teacher and students. of course, to them, there's nothing out of line. so they call me matt, and matthew.
everything's normal for awhile, and then parent/teacher conference night rolls around. my mom and dad go in, i can't remember if i was with them or not, i like to think that i was there, cos i sort of remember this happening. the teacher sat us all down, and informed my parents that (in the same evaluation that would follow me thru high school) "matthew does great in my class, but he's disruptive and is not fulfilling his potential..." my parents look at me and each other, and are like "matthew? our son's name is joshua."
so there i am in the middle of this, having not explained to my parents that i was going by matt at school, and joshua at home. they asked if i preferred matt, and if i wanted them to call me this. i felt like a deer in the headlights. i dind't know what they wanted me to say, so i capitulated, and said, "joshua is good. you can call me that." i remember feeling like i had to decide between my parents and my teachers. of course my parents took that one.
so the next week, all the teachers started calling me joshua, but none of the students knew who joshua was. they knew me as matt.
it kinda ironed itself out after a while, but it was kinda dicey for a minute there in that parent teacher conference.

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