We often make fun of peoples’ names. And there’s a good reason why we do that. It’s funny. Growing up in Southwest Michigan, all of us knew a Dick Shrivels in Coldwater (Coldwater being a town over near Battle Creek, of course, not the punchline in an infantile joke).
Sometimes the simple act of repeating a person’s name over and over can have the same effect. My brothers once heckled Manny Ramirez for an entire game, chanting his name rhythmically everytime he took the field. It got to the point that he actually looked up into the stands and asked them to stop. Even Manny didn’t like hearing his name at a certain point.
But what happens when your name gets in the way of your ability to do your job? Unfortunately, this is exactly the problem faced by Akbar Zeb, an elder statesman in the Pakistani diplomat corps. Mr. Zeb has been a distinguished member of the foreign service for decades now but has been rejected from serving several places in the Middle East. The issue? Well, here’s how one headline explained it:
“Saudis Reject Pakistani Diplomat Whose Name Translates to ‘Biggest Dick’“.
Yeah, I guess that might do it. And when you’re job is to work “with some of the largest members of world governments (sic),” you can see how a name might get in the way. Poor Akbar. Hopefully one of these days he can find a place where he’ll just, uh, fit in