Actually, it IS Rocket Science

A, my name is Ashlin

I was given a somewhat unique name for the time that I was born.  I like it.  It works.  Not to toot my parent’s horn or anything (which now means I will blow the bejeezits out of it) but I think the flow of my full name is great.  Ashlin Phillips just sounds…good.  There’s a great proportion of the L’s and neat layering of the S’s throughout.  I’ve got both soft and hard P’s and my first name doesn’t end in -ey, like the majority of my 80’s born compatriots (not saying there’s anything wrong with that, trust me). Don’t believe how important the proper structure of a name is?  Go read the first iconic paragraph of Nabokov’s “Lolita.” Yeah.  That shit makes a difference, at least among the pedophilia demographic, but I’m getting away from myself; you know what I mean.  I met a Phyllith once, and all I could think of to pronounce her name correctly was to imagine saying Phyllis with a severe lisp.  It was fitting though; she was a total bith.

My parents admitted that they almost named me “Chloe” but changed their mind after I was born and they took one look at me and said, “That ain’t no Chloe.”  I have to agree.  I hear “Chloe” and I think of the white fluffy girl kitten from The Aristocats.  Everybody knows if my character were to be likened to a cat, it would be a bit less shi-shi and much more plain old-fashioned fucked up.

This will be the only cat picture you will have to endure on this blog. It's an analogy. Just go with it.

The only problem with my name is that it’s extremely similar to several other more common names that people are more familiar with; Ashley, Allison, Allen (which I have been called before, on more than one occasion).  I even worked with a girl once named Ashli Lynn, which was interesting.  When I introduce myself to new people my age, there is a very good chance that I will get the “Wait, what?” face, then most of the time those people will lean in as if the difference in inches between where they were a second ago will make a dramatic difference in what they just heard.

A lot of times, depending on how long I know I’ll be around the person, I’ll allow them to contently refer to me by another name and not bother correcting them.  I just don’t see the point.  Especially with those in the older community.  I think I broke an old man’s brain once when I was very young and the look on his face of so much frustration was disturbing since he had such a difficult time pronouncing my name correctly that it was as if I was asking him to understand quantum mechanics.  I just ended up feeling like a bad person when I watched his frustration turn into a dejected look of “Does not compute,” and I walked off with a new understanding of when to hold em and when to fold em.

I actually watched this type of shit backfire once in high school from an observer’s perspective.  I was moving around to different classrooms making an announcement with another member from choir, who, leeeeet’s calllll- Ãmie (pronounced “ah-mee.”) We got into one particular class before the other students began filing in when another girl, we’ll call Jenny, from a different chorus class walked in.  She was older than Ãmie, not that it matters now, but think back to when you were in high school- a year’s difference can very well equate into a huge power shift, given the right circumstances.  This girl walked in and noticed us, and lent a brief greeting.

“Hey Ashlin!  Hey Amy!”

And began unloading her books in the normal fashion.  A few seconds passed by when Ãmie made an audible throat clear the caliber of an aggressive librarian, and then called the girl out, in front of her entire class, saying, “Um, Jenny?  Jenny??  It’s AH-MEEE.”

Thus spoke Zarabitchtra.


A person’s name is extremely important, as far as I’m concerned.  I cannot stand when a person I highly dislike says my name; it’s almost like hearing a cringe-worthy auditory event, like listening to a car accident.  Shove your title full of horrible weeping and gnashing of teeth.

At the same time, hearing your name spoken by someone you really care about is an afternoon on the beach in Utopia.  When I was 16, I encountered my first epic love, and the two of us were playing basketball in my driveway.  I was fumbling with the ball because I’m hopeless when it comes to sports, and we ended up shouldering one another and me trying to overcome his +20 lbs over me when I heard the simple phrase:

“You can’t push me over, Ashlin.”

Oh.  Oh-hoo-hooo. No, that sounds like small potatoes, you guys, but it was like sticking my finger in my mouth and then placing directly into a light socket. Then jumping into a pool full of electric eels.  With a hairdryer.  My insides did an acrobatic act and I shoved the ball into his stomach so he wouldn’t notice the swooney eyes I was stuck with for the next several seconds.

And things really haven’t changed since then.  I still do mini brain-backflips when a guy I like casually mentions my name either to me or within earshot to someone else.  And it’s the same in retribution, too.  I love when a person who I care about’s name comes up in conversation because it’s the representation of our friendship and anything else.  Especially since I’ve moved away from a number of my best friends, when I do have a chance to catch up with anyone and I’m able to mention what Sarah’s up to, or Jamie, or Brian, I’m brought back to previous memories of some of my favorite people, and it makes me feel a little closer to those who I miss so greatly.

My mom used to tell me that hearing me say “Mommy” would give her a zing through her heart.  It took a while, but I finally understood what she meant.  And it had nothing to do with the fact that I had just shocked her because I had just discovered rubbing my socks on the carpet and using my finger as a weapon on a really dry day.


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  1. * ann says:

    yay! i totally know what you mean about hearing people you like say your name. also, there are only some people who can call me annie, and there’s a certain way they say it, not like my name is ANNIE but like they’re saying my name and then adding “EE” at the end because they feel so affectionately towards me that they just can’t help it. like when we call my friend paul “pauly.” it’s an important distinction!

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 3 months ago
    • I know EXACTLY what you mean. Inflection makes all the difference, too! Plus, you’re so much more suited as a distinguished “Ann” than anything else. I place a great deal of importance on who can get away with calling me “Ash,” so I’m right there with ya.

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 3 months ago
  2. Great post Tammie Louise.

    | Reply Posted 7 years, 3 months ago

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