When I graduated from college they draped us all in slippery black gowns, put square hats on our heads, and sat us down in the hot steamy arena to wait patiently for our names to get called. When they did we got up and swished across the stage to accept little ribbon-tied rolls of paper representing years of early morning classes, all-night study sessions, and months of stressful exams.
I remember they got a fancy-pants professor from the Linguistics Department to read everyone’s name off a sheet of paper. She was mostly aces, too. Ng’s and Png’s couldn’t trip her up cause she’d just ing and ping like it was no big deal. Of course, she butchered a bunch and I’m pretty sure I was Neil Pasta-rike-ah that day.
But you know what: that’s fine, that’s fine, that’s totally fine.
Because we all mess up words all the time. Seeing new names and saying them right is tricky business and not for the faint of heart. I am terrible with names so my only strategy when I see a toughie is saying “Sorry, how… how do you say your name?” Of course, after they tell me I realize I’ll never be able to do it justice so I nod and smile and avoid ever saying it again in my life.
Of course, it’s this constant challenge that makes it so sweet when someone actually nails it on the first try.
If you actually pull it off we say good work, tongue twister.
Today we salute you as a brother or sister.
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