man zit achter zijn bureau en schreeuwt uit frustratie naar zijn laptop

Blame it on the edit – Microagression


The first time it happened was when I was in primary school. I just signed up for a clinic at the local tennis club. For this I had to hand over my details to an older guy, who was responsible for the new registrations. He handed me a pass. I immediately see that he has spelled my name wrong. When I talk to him about it, he says: ‘Oh, sorry, I thought you made a mistake. So I corrected it.’

Not too long ago I had someone from the government on the phone. As these types of conversations go, they need personal information to access my file. Since I’ve been dealing with this phenomenon all my life, I anticipate people who think they know my own last name better than I do by spelling carefully. ‘That’s Velberg. V-E-L and then B-E-R-G. ‘hmm, I sent you an email but I keep getting an error message. How is that possible?’ ‘Did you type Velberg without “d”?’ ‘Ooh, yes! Now I see it. I thought you spelled it with a “d”.’

Clients have a knack for this as well. One of the contacts at a training agency that I do jobs for was on holiday. I normally arrange the practical matters with her, such as dates, times, locations and invoices. We had not yet prepared a training and I want to see the presentation. So I send an app to the top boss. If he could share that folder containing that presa. That is no problem. So I send him my email address. In less than a minute I got back: ‘It’s Velberg, not Veldberg?’.

I’m starting to suspect there’s a secret club out there. The ‘I’m-a-white-male-and-I-know-how-to-write-your-last-name-better-than-you-club’. I hope they have jackets. That would be a nice addition.

But seriously. I am an adult man of 32 years old. I am scientifically trained. I don’t need anybody’s help writing my own last name.

You’re the typo. 


Joey’s book ‘Weg met mannelijkheid’ will be published on 2 July 2024. Click here to preorder!

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