Last Name [comma] First Name
Posted by L.A.
I work in a doctor’s office. I’ve been working in the medical field for a few years now, and one thing I’ve quickly learned and never forgotten is this:
[Last Name, First Name]
If you work anywhere with a large database, you know this. First question you ask of someone is, “what is your last name?” It’s a whole lot easier than trying to match the first name — which there could be millions of. Hi, your name is Tom? WHICH TOM ARE YOU?
Which brings me to my next story.
Rewind, with me, if you will.
It’s the summer of 2009. It’s the summer of drank. Macy and I are out at our favorite bar, McDoucheBarn. She is out on the dance floor with another friend, and I’ve edged my way up to the bar. It pays to be skinny in cases like this.
I’m waiting for the bartender to take my order when this happens.
“Hey.” It’s the guy next to me. I figure he’s just going to get on my case for shoving my way next to the bar, since most likely, the bartender will take my order first. Thus, I ignore him.
“You know,” he continues. “You’re too pretty to frown.”
Oh, I realize. He’s hitting on me. This makes it much more understandable that I didn’t realize a date was a date, right?
“Hi,” I tell him. And small talk commences.
More small talk. He’s nice. He asks for my number and I tell him he can put his in my phone. He does.
“What’s your last name?” I ask.
“Why, will you be adding me on facebook later?” He asks.
“No,” I tell him even though I am planning on facebook stalking later. “I just don’t like having people in my phone without a last name.” I scroll through my contacts to prove it.
“Wow,” He says. “Last name is Allen.”
I enter it into my phone. His name is rubbing me the wrong way already.
My drinks arrive. I wave good bye to [last name, first name/first name, last name] and head towards Macy. I have barely gone three feet when I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s him.
“By the way, if you do look me up on facebook, my name is David Maxwell* on there. [First name, middle name]. For professional reasons.”
Professional reasons. Granted, I understand that sometimes you want to keep your “personal” life (and by personal, I mean facebook and those photos of you being a less than stellar citizen) and your professional life separate. I get that.
But when your middle name can sub as your last name, and your last name can sub as your first name, and your first name can sub as either your last name OR your middle name…it’s so much to take in.
I know that you can’t really help what your name is. My actually first name and last name are kind of a tongue twister in that sense. Thanks, parental units. But then do you really have to make it more difficult by being one name here, and a different name on facebook, and everything is so interchangable??
This is one of those weird pet peeves that I know I shouldn’t have (see comment about being unable to help what your name is) but bothers me anyway.
Case in point:
I am very good at remembering who all my patients are. I don’t need to ask for names 95% of the time, because I’ve already greeted them by name and talked about what’s new and gotten their file.
But there was one patient at an office I used to work at. He was an interchangable name man.
“Oh hey…” I’d say and trail off, realizing that I can’t remember which was his first name and which was his last name. If I say ‘hey [name],’ I could be saying the last name and it’d get weird. If I say ‘Mr. [name],’ I could be saying the first name and it’d get weird. “…you. Hey…you.”
I’m so glad my last name is actually a last name.
*David Maxwell Allen is not actually this man’s name. Or it might be, and maybe I just intermixed the names**.
**Now you’ll never know.