The Conversations That Haunt Us

I have many conversations that repeat themselves frequently, some several times a day. I'm 6'9", and since I serve hundreds of people every day, many of them first-time customers, I end up telling people my vital stats all the time. One of my baristas was very shocked recently when someone asked me my waist size (42-44) the other day; this was, in her words, "not okay."

Most times I meet folk I end up having a conversation something like this one:

"Good to meet you. My name's Joffre."


"No. It's like Jeffrey, but it's Jeffrey with an 'o.' 'Joffre.'"

"Oh, Joffre. With a 'g.'"

"No, that's Geoffrey ('jef-rE-&v-'), like Geoffrey Chaucer. Mine's jay oh eff eff are ee." Then I add, depending on the cultural cues I've received from our intercourse, "It's French/Like the ballet/I think my grandfather was named for a French general." Then the jokes come, or I preempt them with some of my own.

My son will be having a similar conversation throughout his life, although not so frequently as I have mine, since it will concern his middle name.

"I'm George Wystan Swait."

"Winston? After Churchill?"

"No, although I like to smoke one. Wystan. Double-you, why, ess, tee, ay, enn."

"Wystan. Wow. How'd you get that name?"

"My parents wanted something that would fit with Saint George the dragonslayer. It means 'battle stone.' And it was Auden's first name."

Perhaps our dear readers know the depths of the love Rich and Charles have for The Winston. Perhaps Rich and Charles will be disappointed. But they will surely admit the kickassedness of the name. And if not, I will have to slay them, and place on the ground of our noble combat a memorial wystan.