Sunday, October 09, 2005

Rixie Berg

I have been talking to my mother-in-law, Ethel, who is a delightful and spry septugenarian, about geneaology, which is one of her many interests. She is becoming better and better at using her computer to track down family members for posterity. She enjoys it a great deal, and it is fun to hear her explanations and findings. Today she said, “Oh, if only there was a law that people go by their first name only, not their middle name, then geneaology would be so much easier”, and then commented, “and some of those census takers, the way they have sometimes messed up people’s last names on censuses, that can make geneaology more difficult too.” She then gave me a specific example of a census taker misspelling someone’s last name in her own family. Kind of a hassle. But I can see how, in just the blink of an eye, someone could misunderstand a name, and maybe nothing is said, and there it is, ‘til infinity, written on some document in a vault.

Once, as a young man, I needed a small car loan, and approached a banker in beautiful downtown Burien, Washington, after making an appointment by phone. Sporting my requisite almost famous rock star haircut, I approached a young loan officer and introduced myself. “How do you do sir”, I spoke politely, “I’m Ric Seaberg”. Reaching out to shake my hand, he immediately replied “How do you do, Rixie”, as in Trixie or Pixie, as in Rixie Berg. I dunno, maybe he was nervous. Maybe it was the long hair. I was kinda shocked and nervous myself, and I didn't correct him. I sat down, listened to his proposal, and eventually decided to get the loan elsewhere. But to this guy, whose brain decided to separate the syllables in the wrong place, I was Rixie then, and Rixie, forever.

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