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Sunday, 1 May 2016


Updated 22 July 2017

This name thing continues. This morning I was in a shop and I decided to sign up for their points card.

Assistant: What's your surname?
Me: Cushnan
Asst: Cushman.
Me: No, Cushnan. C U S H N A N.
Asst: (Giggling) Sorry. Cushnam
Me: No. C U S H N A N
Asst: N A M.
Me C U S H N for Norman, A for Apple, N for Norman.
Asst: Oh, Cushnan. That's an unusual name.
Me: (In my head) FFS!

Posted May 2016

My surname is Cushnan. Over the years this name has been misheard and misspelt dozens of times. In my younger days, I found this very annoying, almost always in telephone conversations having to spell it out, not once but two or three times as people on the other end poked at their earwax. When sending letters, CUSHNAN typed is as clear as CUSHNAN typed. CUSHNAN handwritten carefully with each letter painstakingly crafted to look like a C, a U, an S, an H, an N, an A and an N could not be any clearer.

Even as I type this, spellcheck "corrects" CUSHNAN to CUSHION, one of the names I have been called many times.

From memory, these are the versions of my surname I have endured so far:

Cushion (aforementioned)

I'm sure there are more examples.

I'm used to it all now and I get mild amusement when cold callers phone and ask: "Can I speak to Mister Cushner?" and I reply: "I'm sorry, there's no one here by that name." It throws them off balance.

So all you Smith, Jones and other one syllable surname people out there, you don't know how lucky you are.

Yours faithfully,

Joss Cashmere (Oh, FFS!)

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