Advanced Essay #1 // Dennis

“Here. Set an alarm in my phone for next year at this exact same time. Then I’ll tell you what it means.” I grabbed her phone and found my way across a sea of useless applications until I found the one worth finding at that time. I configured an alarm for July 25, 2011, 3:47 pm.  This would be the only way I could ever try and figure out why they decided on this. Fast forward a year later. I run outside to help my mother and father with groceries from the car. My bigger feet and slightly longer legs graze the top of the pavement, down the steps and towards the car. My extensively longer hair bounced as every step I took sent a shockwave to my chubby face. I proceed to grab a bunch of bags from my mom’s car, avoiding my dad to grab me in the process. At that time, my mom’s phone started buzzing in her pocket. “A call?”, she murmured to herself. She slowly pulled out her phone and moved her extremely long hair to the side of her face. I proceed to run up the stairs when I hear a call from my mom to come over. I dashed to her side and look up at her smiling face. She then holds her phone out in front of me with the alarm going off. “Do you want to know now? Why you have such a ‘weird name’?”
As the excitement rushed to my limbs, I started to flail about the sidewalk and up the stairs, into my house. My mind configures a massive number of questions to ask, as the mystery behind my name is slowly revealed, piece by piece. “What does it mean?” “Why did you decide to call me this?” “Dad had the same name too, right? Why name me after him?” In all of the names that are so common to the human race, why make a name that causes someone like me to stand out? For someone who doesn’t stand out? It like the name drags me on a stage with a gathering of people watching me. Confused about what I say. And I don’t say a thing.

“Men-doo… Men…” My teacher struggled to form the vast array of syllables and pronunciations that she has never encountered before. Her mouth contorted in strange ways as she failed to enunciate the 7th name down on the attendance sheet. She leaned towards me and points at a name that is very noticeable on the vast array of names in her hand. “How do you pronounce this?”, she said with a nervous smile. “Menduyarka”, I said, enunciating every syllable slowly so she could understand what I was trying to say. She repeated what I told her out loud, half-heartedly. I don’t remember if she even pronounced it correctly, but she did say it oddly enough to gain the attention of the classmates around me. Every time I roamed the halls, I would hear people mispronounce my name. Most of the time, it’s unintentional. Other times were just to make jokes. Variations were developed to make saying my name easier as every year went by on the calendar. From “Menduyarka” to “Mendy/Mendi”, to “Mancake”, to “Man-Arctica”. These variations evolved over the years from adorable, childish nicknames, to names with some strangely odd definitions on Urban Dictionary. As the years went on, and I developed into a teen boy, I decided to hide something about me that would only make things progress a little bit slower. “Menduyarka” became hidden under the facade I used. “Samuel” is what I became known by after “Man-Arctica” became very annoying to hear. I can totally describe it as a “handful of consonants and vowels that were pulled from a Scrabble bag.” “Menduyarka” became a part of my life when my dad was named the same thing when he was born. My grandmother came up with the name way before he was born, so it WAS planned. I have no fucking clue where it comes from, but after searching on the internet, I figured out it “wasn’t common in the U.S.” I’m technically not a junior because “Menduyarka” and “Samuel” are switched in the name positionings we have. He’s “Samuel Menduyarka”, and I’m the opposite. Every encounter with someone was like rolling a dice. There was truly a ⅙ chance of someone pronouncing my name right when it came down to it.