Skip to main content

Hello, My Name Is



I have what I like to call a Starbucks Alter Ego.

Whenever I step into my neighborhood coffee chain, I become Paul Duquense, freelance journalist and lover of grande, non-fat white mochas.

For the few of you who have accompanied me on a caffeine run and been lucky to witness my slight split in personality, you know why this is. I simply have lost patience with the baristas who continue to misspell or mishear my name whenever they request it to later shout it out across busy the room of morning commuters and textbook-toting college students.

It was about a year ago when I decided to give out my middle name to avoid the hassle of carefully spelling out my four-lettered first name (4 letters!). Ninety percent of the time, no one will hear the "H." It's always "Kiko," "Nico," or "Pico" instead. So, asking myself, "How can anyone f**k up Paul?" I chose another four-lettered identity that would be more widely known among the Hooked-on-Phonics set.

My surname only came to me recently. I thought Duquense (that's "doo-cain") sounded worldly and cosmopolitan. It's a city located in Pennsylvania, the name of a South African solider who worked for the Germans and kicked some British ass in 1916, and a famed ship in the French Navy named after a popular admiral (Thank you, Wikipedia). It's also the perfect soap opera name for a guy whose evil twin is the mastermind behind an international mafia responsible for the disappearance of his true love.

If only I could use Paul Duquense in my everyday life. I've lost track of how many times people have misheard my name after meeting them for the first time at one of the countless mixers and cocktail parties I've attended here in L.A for the past several years:

"My name's Hiko."
"Nice to meet you, Kiko."
"No. Hiko"
"Nico?"
"Hiko. With an H."
"How do you spell that?"
"H-I-K-O."
"Oh, cool name."

It's not like I suffer from a speech impediment. I was a star on my high school's speech and debate team for God's sake. Diction is what I do best.

Don't get me wrong; I'm proud of my name. I don't hate my parents for blessing me with a name that many Americans believe belongs on the marquee of a sushi buffet. I like to think that it stands out among the Matts, Mikes and Marks here in Los Angeles, a place where a name can mean everything. "How many Hikos do you know?" I ask my friends, and they're answerless because they know there's only one (well, according to the MySpace universe, there's a Hiko residing in Studio City who's a father of two and hasn't changed his profile picture in the three years we've been "friends," but let's move on).



Perhaps I'll develop another personality within the year, just to mess with the baristas at Starbucks once they've gotten to know me and greet me by first name the second I walk through the door. Maybe I'll become Francis Oliver, the son of a Japanese tycoon who recently purchased a condo in Century City and is now an efficiency expert at a Santa Monica law firm. Or, there's Takahashi "Hash" Goldman, a Japanese-Jew from Orange County who's in UCLA grad school studying podiatry.

Still, all of them lovers of grande, non-fat white mochas.


H.P.M

Comments

Anonymous said…
HA - I kind of love this post. :)
Jenny said…
Ha ha ha. I love that you're myspace friends with the other Hiko!

And I've totally met Paul at Coffee Bean. He's cool, but not as cool as Hiko. ;)
Anonymous said…
You are so creative with your writing! Love reading these!!!
Anonymous said…
LOL,
I have the same problem! My name is pronounced like the "SHAR" of "shark" and the "i" sounds like you're saying "e" ... but people always call me Sherry, Cherry, and Sherlie. Once a teacher called me Charles (I still don't get that either).
- Shari

Popular posts from this blog

The Class of '98 Turns 40

We are the Class of '98. We're a little too old to be Millennials, yet too young to be GenXers. As of now, half of our lives has lived in one century while the other half lives and moves forward in another. For us, Cabbage Patch Dolls were the 80s, Tamagotchi was the 90s, and Napster was the dawn of the 00s. We grew up with cassette tapes and Saturday morning cartoons. We came of age with CGI dinosaurs and the rise of the Frappucino. And we approach middle age with memes, reboots, and viral videos all designed to distract us from middle age. We were too young to fully understand the words "Challenger explosion." We were too young to appreciate the fall of the Berlin Wall. But by the time places like Waco, Oklahoma City, and Littleton pinged on everyone's radar, we started to grasp how scary the world could be. Our adolescence was defined by jagged little pills, prescriptions from Dr. Dre, and the fact that some of us were naughty by nature. We learned t


13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About 'The Golden Girls'

When one nostalgically binges on all seven seasons of The Golden Girls like me (I swear I have a life), you pick up on a few things. Certain patterns appear as you continuously witness the consumption of countless cheesecakes inside a fictitious Miami kitchen and hear one St. Olaf story too many. Here's what I noticed after playing my DVDs of this 80s classic over the past several months ( and if you're already familiar with the following factoids, excuse me for underestimating your fanaticism )... 1. Actor Harold Gould, who played Rose's long-term boyfriend Miles Webber from Season 5 to Season 7 (and throughout most of the short-lived spinoff,  The Golden Palace ), also appears in the first season as Arnie Peterson, Rose's first serious beau after her husband's death. 2. The same can be said for Sid Melton, who played Sophia's deceased husband Sal (in flashbacks and dream sequences). He also appears in a Season 6 episode as a jester in a medieval-

Just Because: 9 Music Videos That Take Place in Laundromats

It's one of the biggest music video tropes that's rarely explored in pop culture. The public laundromat has become a go-to location for artists when making a music video for a single they wish to sell to the masses. But WHAT IS IT about a space where ragtag groups of strangers gather to fluff and fold their delicates? Is it the obvious metaphor of dirty versus clean? The scintillating possibility of people stripping off their clothes for a wash? I was feeling a little nostalgic (as usual) and took a look at some of the vids that have fallen under the spell of spin cycles over the past 30 years... "EVERY HEARTBEAT" / AMY GRANT (1991) Back in the early 90s, the Christian pop tart followed up her massively successful "Baby Baby" with "Every Heartbeat," a personal childhood favorite of yours truly  (the Body & Soul Mix, of course). In one of the two vignettes featured in the video, a laundry-toting hottie attempts to flirt with a young