Bungling the Name Game
'Lawrent Belsieu,'' the envelope screamed. I guess it was for me.
''Now you can create your own cards, posters, banners, and more! It's time to celebrate, LAWRENT! PARTY AT LAWRENT'S!''
The folks at Parsons Technology, who sent me that letter, probably don't realize this, but it's hard to celebrate when someone misspells your name.
I'm not complaining, you understand. It happens too often in this Age of Misinformation to make a fuss over. To be honest, I've been called worse things than Lawrent Belsieu.
Take my first name. Laurent is French, unusual in the United States, and maybe even a little romantic-sounding. It's supposed to roll off the tongue like Yves St. Laurent.
But try explaining that to mailing-label software. Computers think I'm Laurence, Lawrence, Laurnet, or Laurcub. American Airlines cut through the confusion the other day and addressed me simply as ''Ent Belsie.'' Why have all those extra letters in there anyway, the computers must ask.
At least American Airlines got my last name right. Much of corporate America thinks I'm Belsi, Bilsey, Elsey. I've been called Belisle. My passport reads Belise.
I'm happy to say that none of this bothers me. I got used to it early in my career when a suburban Boston paper picked up one of my syndicated articles. I was so proud: my words, a nice headline. So what if the byline got a little twisted?
Maybe the world likes me better as Laurent Byoie.