My silly name


I have been blessed or cursed with an unusual name ‘Klingenberg.’ When I was very young it was certainly a curse. I remember struggling to learn to spell as an infant. I have always found spelling hard and it didn’t help my teacher was very liberal in her use of a ruler!

When I was growing up there was a very popular cartoon called the Clangers. Although not that close to our name it became mine and my siblings nickname at school. It didn’t help my Danish father drove a very distinctive Saba at the time which was christened the clanger mobile.

There was the also the oh so hilarious miss pronunciations. I recall one supply teacher calling the register.

‘KlingenTURD? Are you Chinese or something?’ Oh how we laughed!

Now I am a teacher I have pupils and parents miss-pronouncing it. My favourite mispronunciation is ‘Killingbird.’ I’m thinking of legally changing my name to that. Most give up and refer to me as Mr. K.

It has its advantages thou. I love hearing cold caller’s suddenly hit the wall. ‘Oh hello is that Mr.. er oh .um .. can I call you Eric?’ It total puts them off their stride.

Now I hope to become an author I’m quite proud of it, at least I’m not going to be confused with another. Well at least I thought I wouldn’t be until I discovered two others. Ones writes maths books the other cello music – phew safe on both counts unless my hero takes up a string instrument, well you never know. There is always Klingenturd no authors by that name.



44 thoughts on “My silly name

      1. True. I can certainly agree with that. Hey, whatever doesn’t kill ya makes ya stronger, right? 😉
        I’m trying to think of how Red Green phrases that. hmmm…. Oh never mind, that’s, “If the women don’t find you handsome, they’ll at least find you handy.” and “I’m a man, I can change, if I have to, I guess.” Doesn’t have anything to do with a name. haha

        Liked by 3 people

  1. I grew up in a small town in South Africa and we were the only “Camerons” in the telephone book. Shouldn’t have been too difficult, but no, we were constantly being referred to as “Campbell”. Anyone who knows anything about Scottish history knows that that’s a no-no.

    And then, after South Africa was welcomed back into the international fold and its sports teams began competing on the continent, Cameroon’s soccer team were seriously “up” there. I am still confused with either a sport’s team or another African country. Patently, I am neither.

    And now, I have double-barrelled my maiden name with my husband’s so I am (or he is) sometimes addressed as “Cameron” as a first name, with his name as the last name. When the latter happens to me, I can be quite acid: “Mrs So-and-so is my husband’s ex-wife”.

    Eric, I wish I were as sanguine as you are!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. What is the world coming to? If it is more than two syllables then it is the equivalent of Mt. Everest… bah!! You see, instead of cribbing about your name, they could learn to READ instead.. for the life of me I will never understand why they cannot.. use a big word.. and either there is unwarranted admiration or outright sneers.. never mind.. Mr. Klingon 😀 (Hey, just kidding… )

    Liked by 3 people

      1. how sad that is.. the same with my name..
        It is deucedly odd.. most people think it is a girl’s name for some reason. You have to be weird to think that..
        and on the other hand, it always become Tejeshwar for the north indians.. cretins..
        Ah, so used to it now.. never mind..

        Liked by 2 people

  3. My maiden name is rather unusual (you know it is tricky when people tell your last name has to be a typo – true story) and I strongly considered using it again when it came time to publish my book, but I figure my more common married name is easier to remember how to spell in search engines. I personally think you have a great last name for a fantasy writer.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Embrace the uniqueness! At least Mr. K sounds cool for those who can’t get it.

    My first name has been mispronounced all my life. Leigh is the feminized spelling of Lee, but I’ve been Lay, Lay-ah, Lee-ah, and lots of variations of “Um…” along the way. At least now I’m old enough that people can resort to “ma’am” or “Mrs.”

    Liked by 3 people

  5. It is a right of passage to survive the taunts of childhood. My last name was Krueger growing up…which is how I came to be called ‘Freddy’ by the sneering teen boys all lined up in the hall to make any dorky student’s life miserable in passing. I survived and married out of the name. Keep in mind, you can always use a pseudonym instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Being Norwegian I don’t find your name very silly or unusual. But I can see how it would be over there. My last name is very Norwegian, but it still very difficult to spell and people from other parts of the country has problems pronouncing it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. An entertaining post Eric, of which I can identify with. I couldn’t wait to get married one day and get rid of my maiden name, which nobody (including teachers) ever pronounced properly. Then I marry a guy with a simple 4 letter last name, which has yet to be pronounced properly by anyone who doesn’t know me; especially those cold callers. What is so hard about the name Gies? It’s pronounced like the birds: geese. Simple enough, but not really. People – doctors included, calling me Mrs. Guise, Mrs. Giles (a very popular one, although I can’t figure out where the ‘L’ fits in), Mrs. Gice, and the hits keep on coming. Hence, I chose my author name as a pen name – D.G. Kaye, my initials plus the first letter of my maiden name expanded.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My maiden name was Oldrieve. People used “Aldrch””Ostrich” and all sorts of far off names. While spelling isn’t your forte, I have told people the last syllable is spelled like and rhymes with last syllable in believe.
    My Dad whose name is my maiden name, wrote a book. He used his first and middle name. Phew! easier.
    My full name has initials “reo” so I took pride in R E O Speedwagon band and enjoyed people saying this. The mispronounced name as “Overdrive” whish is getting closer to the correct name also has a band attached. 🙂 Bachman Turner Overdrive (“BTO.”)

    On another note, my heritage is 1/4 Swedish and 1/4 German. My maternal grandparents family changed their longer n as me at Ellis Island from “Matthewson” to Mattson. 🙂 My Swedish Grandpa met my German Grandma on a street corner in NYC. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I sympathise Eric. Kids are vicious sometimes where a name can be twisted to something similar but crude. We tend not to see the benefits of having an unusual name back then. The older we get the better it gets as there’s not much change of mistakes with anyone else.
    I was at school in England in the 50’s and my name was restricted to just my close family and I heard a lot of changes but since coming ( back) to Wales, the name is much more commonplace so not as funny to change.Still rare enough in the North that I’ve only ever once been in a room with another though.
    I wish you well with your book Mr K and hope you find an agent and publisher if you’re taking that route.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m a “Wood”. So when my students see me and say “Morning, Wood” they think themselves hilarious. And if I had a nickle for every time I heard (and felt) someone say “knock on wood” I’d have a lot of nickles. They stopped doing it when I started doing it to myself. I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

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