My last name is GERENCSER. It is of Hungarian origin. It is pronounced Grr-IN-sir, though I have heard pronounced in more wrong ways than I can count. Grinsker, Grinsinger, Garuhenzer, Geringsir, Grensler, Grensker, Grincher, Grinzer, to name a few. And then there’s the various ways people write my last name, similar to the way they think it sounds.
When I have to call a business that will ask for my name, when I’m asked, I immediately say, Gerencser, G-e-r-e-n-c-s-e-r. Rare is the occasion that I don’t have to spell it twice. Recently, I had to spell my name four times before the billing clerk got it. Such times are a real test of my patience.
The misspellings that bother me the most are when someone has the correct spelling of Gerencser and still butchers it. Last week, I attended one of my granddaughter’s spring school programs. The printed program, of course, had her last name misspelled — Gerenscer. Tonight, I attended a theatrical production by one of my granddaughters. I told her father that I was pleased that the arts group had spelled her last name correctly. He laughed and replied, Actually they had it spelled wrong. I pointed it out to them and they corrected it. It was spelled, you guessed it, Gerenscer.This, by far, is the most common misspelling of my name, and Gerencer or Gerenser are also common. The reason for this is that there are no CS words in the English language, so when someone sees the CS in Gerencser they assume it is misspelled.(My editor pointed out there are a few words that end in CS, words such as basics,frolics, and logistics. The real problem is that a “C” followed by an “S” is always hard. Thus “Grinkster.”) One customer service rep asked me after I spelled my name to her, are you sure that’s right? I wanted to reply, are you fucking kidding me? It’s is my last name, I know how to spell it! Instead, I politely said that I had spelled it correctly, and then I gave her an English lesson about why people tend to misspell Gerencser.
My all-time favorite misspeller is my mother-in-law. Polly and I will celebrate forty years of marriage in July, yet my mother-in-law still, more often than not, spells my last name with the C and the S reversed.
Do you have a hard to spell first or last name? Please share your experiences in the comment section.