I have one of the most common Names in UK and America. Donna Jackson is the English equivalent of John Smith, which is all good and well, but I don't live in USA or UK, I live in that loose association of countries and languages called Europe. Specifically in the Italian speaking part of Europe. High up the boot on the kneecap.
My name is, almost every day, the subject of great debate and annoyance. I have to spell it out 100 times a day. I used to take Michael Jackson's name in vain and say "like Michael Jackson you know". Which didn't help at all because it just upped the wierdness factor. They couldn't write his name either, because J doesn't exsist in the Italian language. Yes really. If forced, the Italians will refer to it as "I lungo" meaning the long I.
Then lets get to the real joke, my perfectly normal and common Christian name ( outside of Europe), Donna. What hilarity and confusion this causes. What kind of parents would call their child "woman" Don't you have a name? they say. "I can see you are a woman" when I repeat DONNA. This has been going on for a decade.
Wisequeen my handle in the online and blogging world, may be slighter better, but Germans have been known, in presentations I give, to hear "Widescreen" instead, and go banging on about TVs.
Once Italians know me as Donna, they do everything in their power to change the pronounciation of it because they just can't believe anyone could have such a name. So I get Doner ( far to close to Donut) Dana, and so on. It's DONNA I repeat," just like woman in Italian". No use.
This week I was on a Swiss train as usual going to Zurich. A German man was checking my ticket I had forgotten my half price card, so asked him to check on the system. I handed him my passport which has my name written correctly on it, which he held in his hand while typing.
No he said, "Not on the system". Really, I said, Are you sure?. "Yes, nothing!" he insisted and he filled out a fine for me to sign. And as I looked at the name (which he copied from my passport), he had spelled it Danna. "You have spelled my name wrong" I said. "Then the passport must be wrong" he said. No I said, its right, so please check again. He did, and my card came up.
On Christmas day 2009 another Muslim planned to murder Americans travelling on a plane. Due to the courage of the passengers alone, his mission failed.
He was on every watch list. What is more, his own father had warned the CIA that he was a risk.
Why was he not on the no visa, no fly list? Why did intel not pick him up as he boarded?
As the president of USA had to announce to the nation, "the human error was not complicated".
They spelled his name wrong..... and therefore the computers could not pick him up.
Computers will only give us what we ask for...
Please my American and English speaking peeps. I ask you stand with me and declare that the name Donna Jackson is perfectly common and popular!. I need your help! leave me a comment with your name on it, thats all.
Wisequeen of all she surveys.