Along for the ride:

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Who's Bob?

When you are French and your name is Bernard you will be used to hearing Bearrrnaarr' as the pronunciation; When you marry an English woman and cross the Channel to meet your in laws you will be called Ber-nerd; Upon arrival in the U.S. your identity changes again, to B'r- naard; all of which you can get used to. The difficulty arises when said Frenchman wants to pronounce his own name in a way that whichever foreigner he may be dealing with (and yes, to the French, all others will always be foreigners) can understand.
Waiting for a table at a restaurant he goes to put his name down with the Host or Hostess.
- My name is Bearrrnaarr'- "What?"
Attempt number two - I am Ber-nerd- "Sorry?"
Last try - I can't even attempt to write how a Frenchman tries to pronounce the American version of his name. He just can't do it. Much rrr-rolling and digestive noises, but nothing recognizable!
But he is wily and tenacious and, above all, wants his lunch.
"My name is Bob", he says, triumphant to have overcome the obstacle.
So we linger, we wait, we sit or stand patiently. We have no idea how hard our gentleman has worked in order to get us on the list. The Host or Hostess occasionally call other diners, but we don't hear ourselves invited to take our place.
A few times someone is heard calling "Bob, Bob, Bob?", in vain. We know no Bob. We wish we did, he seems well liked here, they keep calling his name.


  1. Oh, that is funny. When you take on a false identity, it is necessary to remember the name you used. Perhaps you should just start calling him "Bob" on the "off hours" to develop the ear for the name.

    Hope you eventually got a table. *G*

  2. Why am I not surprised?

    Great story.

    BTW, home safe and sound.

    T'ank you,

  3. Bob needs to read Ken Follett! ;)

  4. You all take such perverse joy in my adventures with "Bob", luckily there's no shortage of new ones in sight! Do you all secretly wish you had a "Bob" of your own?

  5. You'll have to find a copy of the english show "Blackadder" with Rowan Atkinson where there's a bit about "Bob"

  6. That is great! Thanks for the laugh... :)

  7. I have tears....of laughter...thank you and of course Bob.

  8. I have a list of questions like, "Do you have your wallet?", to which I have now added,"Which name did you give them?".
    You just have to ask the right questions.

  9. My dad had a brother named Barnard. He was forever known as Chub, as was his son Barnard known as Chubby. Neither had an ounce of fat and my Uncle looked just like Paul Newman, including the ice blue eyes.

    I did hear one of my cousins teasing the other cousin calling him Barn yard.

  10. @eloh, I have a friend with both husband and son named Richard. She calls them Big Dick and Little Dick, not something I would do.

  11. So Funny!!!!!! I love it.

    Di x

  12. Good Lord that is funny, I would have gone with Big Rich and Little Rich.

    Makes me remember an idiot I knew who said his sister in law called his brother "Big Woody" and he couldn't understand since his name was Charles. I just shook my head.

  13. Very funny, not!
    Not if you are, and have been for many years, at the receiving end of a mangled first name. It is my lot in life to have a name which also exists in English - although it is very old-fashioned - and is therefore always pronounced the English way. So, while I have no problems like Bob has, I do so wish somebody would address me by my given name, just once.

  14. I put a lot of thought into choosing a name for my daughter which was easy to spell and say in French and English. I had other criteria such as selecting initials that would not be the same as other family members so there would never be a mix up. Everyone has different parameters, I guess.

  15. Not easy having a name which many people find hard to grasp or pronounce... I can vouch for that. I echo your comment here about choosing a transborder name for children... we went for two names that work in both cultures... Emilie and Lucie... so far so good.

    There was a sad story about some horses in San Diego in the press today :

    Too many sick pups out there...