Don’t Worry, It’s German.


Resurrected the blog and this is my first post back on the job.  Something nice and light, enjoy!

For people with unique last names, the military uniform becomes a vessel for shouting to the world “Yep, here I am, my name is plastered to my chest solely for your viewing and inquiring pleasure and all I want is for you to ask me about it.”  For the Smiths, Johnsons, and Williamses out there who have no idea what it’s like to feign patience, here’s a conversation I had just this morning, an example of the fun some of us endure every time someone attempts to pronounce our difficult name:

Mrs Nosy:  Stares intently at my nametape, conveniently located below eye level on the right side so that people actually have to make a concerted effort to look DOWN at my chest.

Me:  “Ma’am, can I help you?”  Oh God, here we go.

MN:  Still staring.  Don’t worry, not awkward at all, it’s just my chest.  “That’s quite a last name you’ve got there!  Can’t say I’ve seen that one before.”

Me:  Can’t say I’ve heard that one before.  Dear Lord, the reading glasses are coming out.  “Yes Ma’am, it’s pretty unique.”

MN:  “Is it You-En-Gurt?”  She distinctly pronounces each syllable with a pause in between them.

Me:  Well, it’s good to know your phonetics are on point, I’m sure that’s how it was meant to be pronounced Mrs. Will-I-Yams.  “No Ma’am, it’s actually pronounced Yen-Gurt.”

MN:  “Yun-Gurt?  Am I saying that right?”

Me:  Seriously?  I just told you.  “No Ma’am, Yen-Gurt.  Take out the U and then try it.”

MN:  “Ohhhh YANG-Gurt, that’s strange.  Well why is it spelled that way?”

Me:  Yet another intelligent question from my new friend, how the hell should I know?  I wasn’t around 200 years ago lady, seriously, you’re killing me.  “Beats me Ma’am, it’s German.”  That’s my excuse for just about everything, “It’s German.”

MN:  “Ahh yes, German.  I’m sure you get lots of people asking about your name, am I right?  And pronouncing it wrong, you must have heard everything in the book!  Yong-Gurt, I see it now.”  Still. Staring. At. My. Chest.

Me:  “Yes Ma’am, well it’s actually Yen-Gurt, like I said before.  But don’t worry, it’s German, nobody gets it right the first time.”  Or, in your special case, the second, or third, or fourth time.

MN:  “Hmmm well if you’re going to be in the military, you might want to think about changing it dear, nobody likes a name they can’t say.  It makes people uncomfortable.  (Oh wow, this conversation is going downhill.)  Or at least get married dear, and to someone with a simple last name.”  

Me:  …Blank stare.  Absolutely speechless.  How the HELL do I respond to that?  Quick, say something!  ANYTHING!  Before she starts talking again!

MN:  “You know, (NOOOOOOOOOOO how could I let this happen?!?) my nephew is single and-”

Me:  “Sorry to interrupt Ma’am, but I have somewhere to be, it was nice to meet you.”  Nice recovery.  A hasty getaway is better than a blank stare.

MN:  “Oh yes.  Well have a lovely day Miss Yoon-Gurt.”  I’m done.  Please walk away now.

Wow, that escalated quickly.


5 thoughts on “Don’t Worry, It’s German.

  1. I feel your pain … I get pweshel peshkel pur-shel ( because I guess there is an r in my name I’m unaware of ) … I’ve heard it all so I get where you are coming from

  2. I’ve learned that it’s the difficult names that are remembered, for good or bad. Better be squared away LT YOON-GURT :).

  3. Siegrist isn’t much better 🙂 I didn’t think it would be too difficult. I get a lot of “HAHA Like Ryan Seacrest, right??” …. No. It’s not like that at all, actually. 🙂

    I am going to become a Rotte soon too. That’s not going to be much better in terms of pronunciation 😛
    ” LT Rot, nice to meet you”
    … Actually it’s ROW-tee.
    “… so LT Rot, … ” -_-

    Side note, this is awesome! I didn’t know you had a blog. I am enjoying reading what you wrote.

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