I am of the generation who knows the entire cornball movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail by memory. We – hubs and I – can be in the deepest of conversations and when certain things come up we burst into laughter and quote a line or two from this old movie. Many of our friends can as well. We have been faithful to the oddball comedy and have taught our children to like it as well.
In one scene King Arthur and his minions approach a bridge of death and are asked three questions in order to pass. The scene gets totally silly as one Knight passes with the easiest of questions and the next gets thrown into the abyss of death with difficult questions. Finally King Arthur tricks the bridge keeper with a question of his own and the old guy is immediately thrown into the abyss of death. The first question is always, “What is your name?”
Sometimes we play around the house and don’t let certain small folks pass unless they answer our questions. We always begin with, “What,” enunciating crisply, “is your name?” They laugh and give goofball answers to the questions. We all have a good time and eventually they get to pass.
These days I am feeling like this old movie has gained in popularity when I go to certain fast food chains and other establishments. I can be checking out and hand over my ID and the cashier – who appears to be about twelve or thirteen – looks at me with disdain and demands my name. Sometimes I act like I don’t hear them and say, “Pardon me?”
Then they are confused because they don’t know what that phrase means. Generally I repeat it louder like they didn’t fully hear me. “Pardon me?” We stare at each other for a moment and they say, “Name.” Honestly! This irritates the fool out of me. And sometimes they specify that they need my first name. Why do they need my name? I am trying to buy something and get out of there.
Just as irritating are the ones who are punching in some numbers while holding my ID and then they try to say, “Thank you Mrs. uhhhh… Mrs. uuuhhh…mzucuckkzck.” They flip the ID to me and yank my receipt out of their machine and turn to the next customer. Well, at least they got the “Mrs.” right.
I don’t really like giving my name to unknown clerks and cashiers. Not that I think they are going to do anything with it but it just seems weird to me. It seems disrespectful. Perhaps because I am a teacher and NO ONE calls me by my first name in my classroom. Or because I am a mother to a small herd and NO ONE calls me by my first name. So, I am uncertain of this new corporate push to have bracy teenagers asking us our names to put on the receipts of our order. I have always thought numbers worked just fine.
At one particular fast food chain I am not very cooperative with the name bit. They just seem so pushy to have my first name. As I drive up to the kiosk the young cashier comes up to my window and stands looking down into my car while cradling an iPad. She has a credit card holster on her hip to enable her to run the plastic through at blazing speed so we can get our food three to four seconds faster.
On this sunny day I rolled my window down and waited for the young lady to approach my car. I gave her my order and watched her tap it into her device. She smiled at me and said, “Can I have your first name?” I smiled back and said, “Musick.”
Her smile wilted. “Music? Is that your name?”
“Sure is.” And just to confuse her a bit I added, “With a K.”
Her finger hovered over the alphabet displayed on her screen. She did not know what to do. So, I sweetly said, “That is my last name. Does everyone give you their first names?”
Her smile was no longer smiling at me. She took the plastic and was trying to run it through the slot at her belt, “Uhhhhh, all but a few give me their first name.”
I took back the card, thanked her and was ready to drive on through when she said, “Uhhhhh, ma’am, I need you to wait until the red car five cars back in the other lane comes through and then you are good to go.”
I gave her a tight little smile. She said, “Thank You.”
I said, “My pleasure” and rolled up my window.