Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Phone for Aatcon

I have just received the first phone call for Aatcon.

"Hi, may I please speak to Aa... Aatcon Mee... Meeshells?"

I was too stunned to say anything other than, "Aatcon? That person doesn't even exist!" (I now recognize this as arguably a fleshist chauvinist simplification.)

Whoever it was - probably one of his telemarketer buddies - then apologized and hung up.

I think the flat vehemence of my response stunned her. Certainly mine was not the usual response a telemarketer gets. Perhaps she felt she had mispronounced Aatcon's name, and "Aatcon" had taken offense. If only she knew how much deeper it goes.

As I reflected on this brief conversation, I was actually quite impressed with her pronunciation of Aatcon, and then it dawned on me. In our brief conversation, she had helped to solve a long-standing mystery.

The mystery relates to what I had previously regarded as the frequent mispronunciation of my last name, which is "Michels". My family believes this is correctly pronounced very much like "Michael's". I had always thought that the lack of the "a" in the last syllable threw some people off, and they simply went for something different. But now I realize, "Meeshells" is a perfectly legitimate pronunciation of the spelling of my last name, and in some regions of the bureaucratic underworld, it is in fact the preferred pronunciation:

"Meesheels" is Aatcon's preferred pronunciation of his own last name!

All of these years that I felt that telemarketers, phone bankers, and computer generated voices were mispronouncing my name, they may in fact have been mistaking me, briefly, for Aatcon, my second shadow-self in the world of raw information. A monumental discovery!

In retrospect, If I had been clearer headed, I would have held the woman for questioning, but before I had a chance to think, she had disappeared, back into the anonymous phone banks from which she had come.

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