WHITE KNUCKLES | Spell it Right
Starbucks never gets my name wrong: bold and thick, the four letters written with the sharpie mark my Cinnamon Chai Latte with comforting exactitude. My mother hated her name, could not bear the length of it, the excessive r’s and the harshness of the t, or maybe because of the fact that it was two names stitched together. For me, she wanted something short, the smoothness of the bilabial consonant, the bright ringing of vowels; she liked the literariness to it and its universality. It is impossible to mispronounce, to be corrupted by accents or unconventional variations or too many confusing syllables. During my exchange year in Maine, my little host brother used to spell it “Ma,” because “M is pronounced Em, and a is pronounced a.” Like the clarity of a crystal, it was simple and immediate.