Leaving a message over the phone the other day, I was asked how to spell my name for the 3,771st time.
R-H-E-T-T. Five letters. One syllable. Silent “h,” as in rheumatism. Piece a cake, right?
I’ve been called more names than a third-grader with bifocals. Rick, Britt, Red, Brett. A few people call me Rat, but they know better and I let them.
My reaction is one of resignation. The masses have worn me down. So from time to time, I take on different personas, particularly when ordering food.
“Sir, what name shall I put on this order?”
My mother is to blame.
A skinny farm girl, she read her weight in novels every year.
She was enthralled with Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Her first choice for me actually was Max, after one of the book’s characters, Max de Winter.
But at some point, she returned to the fuzzy feeling she had about Capt. Rhett Butler in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind.
It was over.
“I read it at a very impressionable age, probably 16-years-old,” she told me recently.
I forgive you. But you might want to amend that will.
Forty-nine years is a lot of pain and suffering.