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Jamie Lee Curtis Headshot

Say My Name

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I recently traveled across the country for the holiday and everywhere I went, from the Captain and flight attendants (although you always get the Captain's FULL name and only the first for the attendants) to the hotel desk, bell and wait staff, everyone has a name tag and therefore I get to address them by their name. Now, as a famous person -- and a ubiquitous one at that -- I hear, "Hey aren't you??? The Activia lady, or Cathy Lee Crosby or Carrie Fisher or Jamie Lee Curtis? But you are MUCH prettier."

I do have people say my name. They shout it at me from passing cars, call me out with a lovely thumbs up as I stroll by; but the problem is it is one sided. I like knowing names. We each have one of our own and our parents obviously thought about our moniker and its meaning and import and rarely do we each use them.

I am proposing name tags for everyone. Why can't the myriad designers and style gurus who obviously meet once a year at a secret location like Reykjavik and have a Style Summit to communally decide what is in and out -- "Ok Donna, this year you are Chairman and after Stella was last year and we went oh so minimal; we like your ideas for Baroque influences and encrusted embroidery and umpire waists and cod pieces..." Why can't that fashion cabal bring back name tags as well as Mondrian color blocking and those pork pie hats that look ridiculous on this generation's young and unrestless?

Name tags. Simple, nicely designed, name tags.

I was raised by a businessman, Robert Brandt, who did a majority of his work on the telephone cold calling customers and institutions, and every time a person answered his call he would ask, "Who am I speaking to?" and for the rest of their conversation he would address them by their name. He and my mother, the famous Janet Leigh (whose name everyone in his business world knew as they had also seen her in her brassiere and slip and meet her gruesome fate in a shower) would travel to a business convention and she would quiz him and vice versa from a long list on the names of the customers they were about to see AND their spouses and children's names so that when they saw them in the banquet room of the hotel the convention would be in, Bob and Janet would welcome these men and their wives by name and inquire: "How is Steven doing at Harvard?"

They knew that it mattered and that even Janet Leigh knew THEIR name. I know that his success was partially based on that skill and how using one's name helped. He also taught me that your handshake is your signature and that a firm handshake and eye contact was remembered. He also taught me to drive on a non-synchromeshed VW bug going up a very steep hill. Although that one was hard, his lessons have helped me out all my life.

I love "Hello My Name Is" tags. My son has a t-shirt with a 'Hello My Name Is' label and beneath it is written "Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die." I like each film set for the entire crew to wear them, at least at first until we know them.

Names are our familial and constitutional right, where one person, one vote means one name, one vote.

We may be a group, parroting the demands of our leaders like our Occupy public address system, but we are a crowd with names to go with our voices.

Say my name, say my name.

And I will answer, will you?

PS: I am on a plane as I write/wrote this and am amazed by the gogo Internet connection that allowed me to post it mid-flight and read the comments. For the record, I have never seen an episode of Seinfeld, Friends, The Office (US Version) or Modern Family. I barely know how to turn on my TV as there are things called input 1, 2 and 3 and I am CONSTANTLY needing my son, Tom, to help me turn on the DVD player. FYI, I read books and play Words With Friends (see my previous post on that) and am terrified of becoming addicted to TV series. I HAVE watched a few non Tivoed episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker, Top Chef Texas and Project Runway.