Coupons are a wonderful thing. They convinced me to eat fast food this week--not once, but twice. Both times, I ate at Wendy's. Both times, I got a free sandwich with the purchase of something else. And, both times, they spelled my name wrong.
I know I'm not the only one whose name has been spelled wrong on a fast food order. The funny thing is that they spelled it differently both times. The first time, it was "Mykayla," and the second time it was the slightly-more-standard version "Makayla." My driver's license says "Micalah Elise Janelle Piazza."
I know it's a strange spelling. To be honest, when I was younger, I thought it was a strange name. Later, I learned that I was named after my dad, Michael, and partially after Michaela Quinn from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I was in fourth grade or so before I met another Micalah, and she had the old standard spelling of "Michaela." It was always so much fun to pass her in the hallways--"Hi, Michaela!" "Hi, Micalah!"
No one ever spells my name right. At this point, I don't care anymore. I'm used to it. I had my first book signing in July, and it was mentioned in the August issue of a local magazine. They spell my name two different ways in the two-sentence article--"Michela" and "Michala."
And, to be honest, when people read my name the way it's supposed to be spelled, they can't pronounce it. I've been called "Mickel-uh," "Michael-uh," and even "Malachi." This, along with my generally compliant personality, makes me answer to pretty much anything that starts with an M. Or a K, even. My cousin Caleb spent a week at our house, and half the time, we'd both answer when his name was called. That stemmed from years of being called "Calah"--or, more phonetically spelled, "Kayla."
And don't get me started on my last name. Yes, I'm Italian. Yes, I love pizza. Yes, I literally work at a pizza place. But my last name is "Piazza," not "Pizza" and not "Pizazz." We've been called both. My last name actually has no connection to pizza, or even food in general. It's actually an Italian word meaning "porch," which is interesting because my family has worked in the construction business for at least two generations. I was rather stunned to see my last name in Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" in literature class. Not as a name, of course, but as part of the Van Tassel's house.
The difficulty of pronouncing my name is one of the reasons I chose to publish under my initials, M.J. Piazza. There are other reasons--yes, I'm trying to blend in with "the greats" like C.S. Lewis and, more recently, E.L. Konigsberg and George R.R. Martin. And, yes, I'm trying to make it a bit less obvious that I'm female. But I'm mainly giving the world a break. There's too many convoluted names out there; you don't need mine added to the mix.
What's the most hilarious way someone's misspelled or mispronounced your name? Let me know in the comments below! God bless you, dear reader, and don't forget to like us on Facebook!
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.