Saturday, September 29, 2007

A rose by any other name

In case you were wondering about the blogname, what rhymes with plague is my name, and no, my name isn't Greg or Craig or Meg, not that there would be anything wrong with that. My name is Robert. Robert Henry, in fact. But no one calls me that. Everyone calls me Bob, except friends from my childhood who still call me Bobby. I hate it when that happens. I guess in Spanish my name would be Roberto Enrico and in French it would be something like Ro-bair Anh-ree. But I digress. It's my surname, Brague, that rhymes with plague. I've been called Brahg (as in Prague, Czechoslovakia, or I guess that should be Czech Republic) and Brah-goo and Brah-gay and Brock (by people who must think the 'g' is a 'q'), Bruh-zhay, and even Buh-rah-guh. Whatever. The most common mispronunciation over the years, though, perhaps because I've lived most of my life in the southern part of the U.S., has been Bragg, as in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which I believe was named after the Confederate General, Braxton Bragg. Or maybe not.

So, anyway, I tried to devise a way to help people remember the correct pronunciation (well, MY family's pronunciation, at least, because I also learned that there is a river in France called La Brague that is probably pronounced Brahg, given what little I understand about European vowels -- you know, ah, ay, ee, oh, oo). I tried saying that my name "rhymes with ham and egg" but people began spelling it Bregg. I bet Sean Hannity (rhymes with sanity, inanity, manatee) has the same trouble with his first name; I bet he has to tell people that Sean doesn't rhyme with lean, mean, green machine, it rhymes with on the lawn at dawn I saw a fawn. Well, as Ronald Reagan said, there I go again. Digressing, I mean. Actually, he said, "There YOU go again," and he wasn't talking about digressing and he said it in 1980 to Jimmy Carter during a debate. I finally decided to tell people that my name "rhymes with plague" because not only does that give them a leg up on the correct spelling (a mnemonic device, as it were), I think it also conveys just the right level of irritation I have with needing to tell them in the first place.



  1. Brenda Harrison SmithOctober 12, 2007 at 4:56 PM

    Dear Bob,
    I will try to remember to call you "Bob", but it is just like saying, "John" for Johnnie Mac Day. In my heart you will always be "Bobby", the smartest kid in my class, grades 2 through 12, Mansfield, TX.
    I also can hear your voice in your notes. I have enjoyed each and every one. I will look forward to those to come in the future. Thank you for sharing your stories and thoughts.
    Your classmate, Brenda Smith

  2. Brenda,

    Thanks for reading my blog. I have really enjoyed doing it, and the interaction via the comments is great.

    I have thought it over, and I don't really HATE when friends from Mansfield call me Bobby.
    That was much too strong a word. But it's been so long since I was called Bobby that it's almost like they're talking to someone else. I usually refer to MHS friends by both their given names--Johnie Mac, Johnny Paul, Patsy Joan, Patsy Marie, Charles Lee, Ila Louise, Ona Faye, Betty Jean, Bobby Ray, Linda Lee, Morreta Ann (oh, yes, and Brenda Sue). And
    others we knew by just one name--Sharon, Sonya, Kim, John, Bruce, Marshall, Judith, Jerry, Elmer, Martha, Roland. And a couple of people by their initials only--D.K., L.W.

    On second thought, I LOVE it when old friends from Mansfield days call me Bobby. Just think,
    most of us have known each other for sixty years! How can that be possible?

    Your friend,
    Bobby(!) Brague

  3. I have similar aggravations regarding my name. My childhood friends and family know me as Terry. I don't really object to them calling me that, but I want my grown-up associates to call me Terrell. And please don't save the accent for the second syllable. It's TEH -rul not tuh -RELL. Occasionally a Yankee will make me a Shah, but most folks can handle Shaw acceptably well.

    Thanks for stopping by the Limb. I have enjoyed reading your posts.