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An ‘inherent Joshitude’ must be apparent

By Staff | Apr 15, 2011

Hi, there. My name is Zach Davis, but you may know me as Josh.

For whatever reason, when someone cannot remember my name, the first thing they come up with is Josh. This is a little confusing because my actual name (it’s Zach, in case you forgot) does not sound when spoken or resemble when written the name Josh.

Why does this happen?

I have nieces that call me Uncle Josh (they act like they’re kidding, but I recognize that blankness behind the eyes when someone forgets who I am).

At Shepherd University, where I practically lived in Knutti Hall, a professor one day asked everyone’s opinion on what we read. I was called last. Before class actually began, the professor took roll. I sat directly beside him. Every Tuesday and Thursday, he called my name. No one in the class was named Josh. When I was called on, it was -“What did you think, Josh?” I replied that I wasn’t sure what Josh felt, but I could tell what Zach thought about the play if the professor was curious.

He replied that I have an “inherent Joshitude” about me.

Another college tale has me being called Josh consistently by another professor, from whom I took multiple classes. Also, he was my academic advisor. And my mentor for my senior project. Near the end he was nearly flawless in addressing me by my actual name, but when he slipped up and called me Josh, he didn’t seem to notice.

That’s always been the case. No one ever realizes that I’m not Josh. They have an idea of me, they know who I am (and in the case of professors, what kind of work I could do), but not what my name is.

I think my name is fairly distinct. I’ve only met a handful of other Joshes (I mean Zachs), so it stands to reason that the name would stick out.

Not for me.

I worked the same job throughout college and for a year afterward. That’s five years in the same job, with four of those years with the same boss. I had a nametag and everything. Who was I?

“Hey, Josh.”

Someone once explained to me patiently, the way you would speak to a dog or small child, that my given name (once again, it’s Zach) was too cool for me. Why has the world collectively decided that I’m not only not cool enough to be Zach but also that the only name for me is Josh? How is it possible that everyone lands on this one name? Why am I never mistaken for someone else, someone with a name cooler than my own? Why does no one ever say, “Hey Brickaxe,” or “What’s up Maestro Magnificante?” I don’t really remember this happening during my time at Shepherdstown Junior High, but perhaps that’s because teachers and staff had good reason to remember my name.

I had a recurring fantasy in which I would commit all sorts of petty annoyances as Josh (using all the toilet paper without getting another roll, making prank calls to people with funny names, squeezing the toothpaste tube from the middle, whistling tunelessly for long stretches of time, playing with my cell phone during a movie, driving in the left lane at 20 mph under the limit with my right blinker on, slurping every drink, loudly giving away plot twists, not closing my mouth when chewing and spitting indoors).

As I became known as Josh the annoying guy, I would whip off my glasses (in secret – Clark Kent-style) and become reborn as Zach. I could explain my disappearances by saying I hated Josh – that guy was really annoying. Of course, this would mean I would need to either get contacts or get used to running headfirst into tables and chairs and such (side note: you get used to it after awhile, but the bruises on your shins never seem to go away).

A world where I can finally be Zach instead of Josh is, admittedly, a far-fetched notion, but I can dream, can’t I? Perhaps all I need is more public exposure. The world will come to know me by my true name. You just wait and see!

Look for the next article by Josh McBlandname coming soon to The Chronicle.