An Ode to the Names I’ve Been Called

When you grow up with the last name Eutsler, things are bound to get tricky.

Whenever I’m in a situation where it’s necessary to give my full name–when picking up an order at the pharmacy or making an over-the-phone order, to name a few–I tend to skip pronouncing it all together and go directly for the spelling. I learned to spell “Eutsler” before “Sarah” because I heard my parents spelling it out so often when I was little. “Sarah” felt tricky because it was so short. There had to be more letters, I felt, a more complicated structure to match “Eutsler.”

And with the complicated, rare last name comes a plethora of misspellings. I don’t even flinch anymore when my last name appears in an incorrect fashion. In fact, the only time I’m truly mad about my name being misspelled is when someone opts to leave that ever important “h” off the end of “Sarah.”

Most people tend to spell my last name E-U-S-T-L-E-R, which I think comes from the belief that it’s pronounced like YOOST-LER as opposed to how it’s really pronounced: YOOT-SLER (seriously, YOOST-LER is even far more awkward to say–go for the easier pronunciation!)

I’ve started to collect the various and unusual ways I’ve seen my name written. Here’s a sampling of the spelling tragedies I’ve seen through the years:

  • Sara Eustler: The most common way I see my name misspelled, and the most obnoxious to me.
  • Sarah Eusler or Sarah Eutler: Leaving out important letters entirely.
  • Srah Eutsler: This was one of my favorite misspellings and is thanks to a CosmoGirl! magazine subscription. I tried to change it, but for some reason Sarah never stuck in their subscription database.
  • Sarah Eutslier: I don’t remember where this came from, but I was amused at the French twist added into the mix.
  • Sara Heutsler: When I was in college I spent a semester as the features editor for the student newspaper. That job entailed running a small staff of approximately 8 columnists. Before the semester started my editor forwarded me an email from a guy who wanted to write a movie column. Included in the forward was my editor’s response, in which he told the prospective columnist to “contact Sarah Eutsler, the features editor.” Despite spelling out my name–and correctly! Bonus points to him–when the guy looked up my name in the email system and looked at my email address–saraheutsler_2011–he interpreted my name as Sara Heutsler. He addressed me as such in my email. I gave him the column anyways.

And, for the newest addition:

My receipt, proudly declaring Sarah Eatsler is a Rewards Card member.

Sarah Eatsler. I went to Office Depot today to make a few business purchases and put it toward my rewards card. That’s when I discovered that, despite neatly writing out my name on the reward’s card application, they interpreted that “u” as an “a.”

Here’s to hoping I marry someone with a common last name.

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4 thoughts on “An Ode to the Names I’ve Been Called

  1. That is quite hilarious! Eatsler.. that is just great =) I’m going to start calling your sister that… hehe. I had a bit of the issue with last name problems growing up, equally divided between it being misspelled or mispronounced! And very few people under the age of 45 or so seemed to get the association of “No, it’s Opel, like the car, not Opal, like the gemstone.” married into Wilson, which is much easier for most people to handle… hehe

  2. Was pleasantly surprised to see this appear in my RSS feed 🙂

    Those names are hilarious. I am totally in the same boat — when someone asks me what my name is and I think they are writing it down, I don’t even bother saying it. I jump right in with “Last name L-E-U-C-K, First name C-A-L-L-I-E.”

    Although if it’s Starbucks or something where they’re just writing your first name on an order, I just say “Callie” and see what I end up with. My favorite is “Cali.” Although of course I’ve seen Kali, Kally, Cally, Kelli… ^_^

  3. I like the French version – Eutslier!! And I distinctly remember you showing me how much easier it is to pronounce with a “t” before the “s” so I could get it right consistently! Haha!

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