Wednesday, June 04, 2008

All maxed out

No, this is not a post about being overburdened at work. (Although it may be.)

It's just that lately, a bunch of people have been referring to me in emails as Max.

Now to be clear, my name is Martin (in case you hadn't noticed). So why is this happening? Why, in the last six months, has Max has become the alternate me?

It doesn't seem to matter that I append my name to the bottom of virtually every email; that my name is in the from line; that it's prominently featured in my signature. It's as if some people just aren't able to comprehend what they see.

Instead, they smush the first syllables of given and last names together in a bizarre form of familiarity: Max.

Perhaps they're too time-challenged to read my full name. Possibly they're being over-bombarded by communications, so they have no choice but to skim and gloss. Or maybe they're so used to reading text message-style abbreviations, that this is what comes naturally to them. I can imagine the etymology. It almost makes sense.

Yet I wonder what other details they may be missing.

Truth is, I like the name. It always reminds me of the scenes in Annie Hall when Woody Allen and Tony Roberts, kibitzing or kvetching as they walk down the street, address each other as Max. As if that were their collective identity. I guess can relate to that.

8 comments:

zoe said...

funny, i recently wrote a post on the same topic. how people (even close friends) were getting the spelling of my name wrong.

i've even been called 'Zeus'. Not such a bad nickname but still waaaay off.

Parker said...

Lack of name comprehension by other people is a pain I know all too well.

Judy Gombita said...

That's rather amusing (if annoying). Still, I guess it could be worse...you could be getting emails addressed to "Wart."

Bill Smith said...

I hear you Martin, with what amounts to an idiot proof given name of Bill, I have people call me Bob from time to time.

Look on the bright side, it's better than: hey Buddy or hey you.

Janine said...

I used to envy folks who had names impossible to mispronounce. The anglo version of my name I'm used to. But I still get Jenny or Janice from time to time because some folks can't figure out the French pronounciation.

Max is a good name. Short for maximum. Maybe you need a t-shirt? Martin "MAX" Waxman? "MAXman"? "Martin to the MAX"?

prvoyageur said...

I agree this is likely a symptom of skimming to battle email overload.
At least once a week, I get an email that opens 'Hi Ross' or 'Thanks Ross'. That's my last name - the curse of having a name that fits in both slots. For the record, my first name is Ian.
But that mistake always leads me to question how much time/thought the sender put into their feedback.

Christine Smith said...

Let's hope those addressing you as "Max" aren't planning on applying for a job at your firm!

Anonymous said...

Look, they could have always made it worse...they could have dubbed you as Tinman.

Now that would be funny.