Mr. Bop-bop, Betty, and Policeman: story of my name.

Roadblock. One evening, one or two years ago (cant really remember, I have a fried brain), somewhere between my workplace and home, around 4 AM.  One policeman holding my Driving License, flashlight brightly shone on it, and he said to me, ‘If you can pronounce your full name, you can go”. My mouth opened. “I was joking Ma’am. Drive safely, here’s your card”.

Fast forward to one Sunday evening. Bedroom, few minutes after midnight. I was laughing and crying at the same time, reading this post on computer about someone called Doo-doo Bop-bop-bop got arrested (go google it yourself). I got to the point where my beloved hubby got up, mumbling “I have to get some sleep. I have to wake up in 4 hours”.  Gotta tell you, belly laughing-wiping tears off your check is something you cant do every day… but being in local channel after your sleep-deprived hubby chokes on you isnt really in my plan either (Oh hunny, I am just joking. I know you wont do that).

You know what we have in common? Mr. Bop and me? We both have a mouthful of name to say.

Growing up, I never liked my name. It’s so overly common in Indonesia and the first impression would be a name for mbok jamu, a street vendor lady that carries a big basket of herbs drinks on her back, selling drinks in her traditional clothes. Noooot really what I had in mind to see myself in the future.  I started having preference being called with my nickname, or my middle name. Anything but Sri.

Once in awhile I got a kick outta it. Think dentist office. Think a lady that look at my name, try to say it and hope she gets it right for the first time so I wont get offended (I wont, but she doesnt know, does she?) 

Then there’s a pain-in-the-butt, shaking-head time.  Think conversation over the phone. “What’s your name again? Tree? Ree?”  “It’s Sri,  Sir.” “Oh, sorry,  Lee”. “It’s S-R-I,  Sir”.  Cricket in the background.  All the mispronounce, mispelled moments. Like a lady that I know from my son’s school that still calls me “Shray”.  

It crossed my mind once or twice to change it. Well, not to Doo-Doo Bop-bop-bop, but something universal. Like Betty. Everyone knows how to say, write and pronounce Betty. It sounds so… south, so local. My home for almost 10 years.  Not that I particularly like the name, it’s just something I can get away with, done with all the hassles.  Any simple names will do. Doesnt have to be Betty. Well you got my point.

Now, at the other side of the earth. I am still called Sri. Tried to fight back for awhile, then I gave up. It’s just going nowhere so I start to accept it. Then American tongue gives some twist, an accent to it. Now it doesnt sounds like a name of mbok jamu anymore. It sounds… ethnic. A name from faraway land (it is, doh!) Now it sounds like ‘Sh-ree’ . Little bit longer and has an ‘h’. Hey you know what? It doesnt sound bad after all.

How come something as simple as name can be as amusing and a hassle at the same time? How come one name that I disliked actually can bring an arch up in the corner of my mouth? Bringing a lot of works for me and others but also teach me how to be patient and empathy? Was I bullying my then-husband-to-be when I asked him to fully spell my full name before he could marry me? (Later down the road he confessed he had a piece of paper with him with my name written on it).

And how come that it took an ocean to cross and an American accent to listen to, to actually fully grasp that my name,  a name that my parents gave a lot of thoughts, is a fine name?

I am writing this not to defend any stupid names out there. Think Orangejello or Clamydia. Or if you are Indonesian, long time ago I once heard a name Korek (which means litterally a match to light a fire) and Mesyes (sprinkles on top of your cupcake).  I am writing for my own sanity, a self-peace making moment you can say, after years of disliking something that was all right all along. I was making a fuss out of nothing. Nothing wrong with name Sri. Something was wrong with me for not accepting it. And now, at the other side of the pond where I am almost certain that most American doesnt know any other friend name Sri, well, I’m happy I’m their first Sri. And all the tongue-twisting moments, well, the credit goes to my parents.



About srihicks

Somewhere between working a full-time job and chauffering my son around everyday, there is still a house to clean, a husband, bills to pay and I still need few hours of sleep. Why adding a blog in my hectic life? Because I need a hobby and I find blogging as an outlet to pour out my thoughts without being interrupted. In some level, it keeps my sanity level in-check. Yes I am that kind of gal that wants to be a superwoman. I want to make money, have a house to tend, a wonderful family to cherish, good friends to hold and a blog to write. I have them all. Welcome, family, friends and readers, to my blog that reflects my random thoughts, of a gal that is trying to navigate a hectic little life. Enjoy.
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5 Responses to Mr. Bop-bop, Betty, and Policeman: story of my name.

  1. yoke says:

    yaaay! i’m the 1st commentator. Hadiahnya tiket jakarta-NC pp yaaak! :D… btw, I googled doo-doo bop-bop-bop without any high expectation to find a result but… yes I found some news about him! beside what he’ve done, from the name he’s chosen, i think he’s a creative guy hihi… anyone ever think about using word/sounds like doo-doo bop-bop-bop as a name? btw, Ta… don’t u think american feels strange with my name? *grin*

  2. Yeah, I’m one of those guilty of saying Sh-ree…LOL…

  3. srihicks says:

    Hey, thanks for the feedback! Love’ em.

    @Yoke; Yep your name should be considered unusual here. Yoke itself in English is that yellow part of the egg, serious! But hell I’ll share the Betty name with you 😛
    I guess you are right the difference between Mr. Bop and me, is that he chose his own name and mine is given at birth.

    @Ashley: you are doing good with Sh-Ree. Hahaha. But thumbs up to you for defending my name against anyone that cant pronounce it correctly “Dont they know the country Sri-Lanka?”

  4. Yoke Yuliana says:

    Ita… isn’t yellow part of the egg called yolk not yoke? 😀 says the definition of yoke:
    a : a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together b : an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person c : a frame fitted to a person’s shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions d : a bar by which the end of the tongue of a wagon or carriage is suspended from the collars of the harness e (1) : a crosspiece on the head of a boat’s rudder (2) : an airplane control operating the elevators and ailerons f : a frame from which a bell is hung g : a clamp or similar piece that embraces two parts to hold or unite them in position

    hm… it doesn’t sound better than yellow part of the egg I think 😀
    Thank you for sharing the Betty name with me… Betty Boop and Mr. Bop hihihi…

  5. srihicks says:

    Dangi t! You are correct. it’s Yolk and not Yoke. See how fried my brain is? 😛 Thanks for correcting it.. see, you are doing a good job as an editor!

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