Thursday, June 6, 2013

Can I Please Have Some Crackers With My Alphabet Soup?

Once Mother said, "My little pet
You ought to learn your alphabet."
So in my soup I used to get,
All the letters of the alphabet.
I learned them all from A to Z,
And now my Mother's giving me
Animal crackers in my soup.
Monkeys and rabbits loop the loop.
Gosh oh gee but I have fun
Swallowing animals one by one.

–Irving Caesar and Ted Koehler

I work in the accounting department at a small software company. Actually, I'm pretty much the accounting department at a small software company. On the first of every month, rain, shine, Saturday or holiday, I am given a spreadsheet containing upwards of 5000 names which I have to sort through to determine which users are billable and which are not. I filter and sort and number and it takes about 8 or 9 hours. It is tedious and a little mind numbing. After the spreadsheet is ready, I print it out and then transfer the information, company by company, to our very out-dated old school accounting software so that I can print and send out invoices. Of course, I don't start from scratch every month. I carry the information over from the previous month, but if a company adds or drops a user, then I have to add or remove said user from their invoice, manually re-ordering and numbering the users. Even if there are no obvious changes, I still have to compare what's in the accounting software to the spreadsheet because sometimes, rather than dropping a user and adding a new one, they will just change the user name. I usually end up going over most of the list twice as I check and print. This takes at least another four days with the help of the Executive Assistant, who helps me print and also checks the printed invoices against the spreadsheet for typos or errors in pricing.

And it happens every month. All of those names start swirling around in my brain like alphabet soup.

*There are the normal, everyday names like John Smith and Mary Brown. Then there are the attempts to dress up every day names, like Adamantium Williams and Steele Jones. There are names that appear to be back to front, like Harrison Bert and Taylor Grace. {Sidebar: I've actually wondered if they entered their names backwards when setting up their accounts, but then they call and their first name really does sound like a last name and vice-versa}. There are names that don't go together, like Jose O'Malley. There are names that remind me of characters in books, Henry Potter, and movies, Clark Kenton, names that remind me of actors, Merlyn Streep, names that remind me of political figures, Rudolfus Hillter, and names that remind me of pop culture icons, Bella-Bev Devoe. And because we have customers all over the world, there are names that look completely foreign to me.

Now, I don't take issue with the names, per se. It is a parent's prerogavtive to name their child any fool thing they want {see also, Nymphadora Tonks}. It is simply the sheer number of names and the intensity and duration that I must deal with them that makes me a little crackers sometimes.

*All names are completely fictional, and any resemblance to names of actual people is purely coincidental.


Colleen said...

I know what you mean. I have a job where I see lots of names too, and for some of them I wonder if the parents were trying to be fancy, or if they thought the way they spelled a name was actually the way it is supposed to be spelled.

I also get a little kick out of finding famous names on regular folks - I've found a Michael Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Jack Kennedy over the years.

Paulette said...

Thanks for the entertaining peek inside your world. I always have to refer to the names in print when I'm working on a file, because if I go with what seems natural, it's usually anything but. Austin/Austyn, Lindsay/Lindsey, Kelly/Kelli, Kellie, etc. And that's just some basic first names. Yeah, the ones that sound like they're transposed can mess up everyone in the office. Once somebody hears it said backwards and it gets repeated a couple times, it's hard to get it correct. Because I work mostly behind the scenes, at least I don't have the opportunity to embarrass myself in front of the client by calling them by their last name.

Gene Black said...

Yes, I have seen some doozies of names in my jobs. A couple I would not consider posting in public. And the famous names abound - Michael Jackson and George Jones are very common names LOL

regan said...

I used to be friends with a guy named Thomas Thomas. I think that was just plain lazy of his parents! lol

Mara said...

Fun, thanks for the giggle.

hafza said...

I always love watching Shirley Temple movie when she was a child...thank you for sharing the video.

Shay said...

I'm afraid given your occupation you're going to see some very strange names along the way. I always have a giggle at some of the names I see.

When you work with little people you see various spellings (often bad ) of the same name from parents who attempt to give their child some individuality. It drives me nuts.