Say my name

I know when people truly grow accustomed to my name when they make an introduction and say my name like it doesn’t need an explanation (which just happened).

Even I have to say,

“Zero. Like the number.
Yes, seriously.
No, I’m not kidding.
Yes, it’s the name I was born with.
Yes, it’s on my birth certificate.
No, you can’t see it.
Yes, it is an unusual name.
Yes, there is a story behind it.
No, it’s not because my parents didn’t think I would amount to anything.
And yes, it’s true, it is the dog’s name in a Nightmare before Christmas, and a character’s name in Holes and also The Grand Budapest Hotel.”


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RE: Destiny’s Child – Say My Name (video)

Almost famous

That awkward moment you’re walking across the parking lot to your car and you are greeted by name — by a complete stranger wearing a hat and sunglasses.

“Zero, is it?”

Well, life has suddenly gotten interesting.

I stop walking and nod, “Yup.”

No idea who this is. Maybe he’s an assassin from the future sent back in time to kill me. Doesn’t look like an assassin though. At least not one from the future.

That’s no fun.

Maybe he’s a secret agent.

“Is that a nickname?”

See? Now he’s prying for information.

“No. It’s my name name.”
“That’s sick, man!”

Well, if he’s a secret agent, he knows how to butter me up. I’m only a couple compliments away from giving him Colonel Sanders secret recipe.


Wait. Is he just messing with me now?

“Well, it wasn’t so bad ass growing up,” I say, “But it’s better now.”
“It’s awesome, dude.”

He sounds sincere. I’m pretty sure he’s not a secret agent after all.

Maybe he’s a fan? I don’t really have fans, but maybe he doesn’t know that.

“Thanks. I’m sorry, I don’t know your name.”
“It’s Mike.”

Mike? Who’s Mike? Mike Tyson? He doesn’t look like Mike Tyson. And I don’t know of any other Mikes. What’s Brad Pitt’s first name? I’m pretty sure it’s not Mike.

While I’m standing there having a delightful mental conversation with myself, Mike pulls his name tag out of his pocket.

As you might expect, it says, “MIKE”. Which is good. It means Mike wasn’t lying.

But using my incredible investigation skills, I note the other important thing on the name tag.

The logo of the cafe I just exited.

Turns out Mike looks a lot different in a hat and sunglasses and out of uniform.

For a minute there, I almost thought I got famous.

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Where everybody knows my name

In cafe.

It’s a new manager’s first day.

He’s been here a couple hours, but one of the other managers decides to give him an official tour of the facilities.

To my surprise — I am the first stop on the tour.

“And first — this here”, he says gesturing in my direction, “is Zero. Zero, this is Chris.”

“Hi Chris. Nice to meet you,” I smile. “Yes, I am a semi-permanent fixture here.”

“Nice to meet you… Yearo?”

“Zero. Like the number! If you’re ever in doubt, you can just read the sticker on my laptop.”

“Got it! I’m Chris. Big Chris.” (Chris is very tall and has a handshake like a bull. A hoofshake, if you will.)

Introductions out of the way, they proceed to the next stop on the tour, the outside patio section where Chris was introduced to the little black bird bread beggar gang (a flighty lot, that bunch).

Anyway, I must say, it’s kind of nice to be in a place where everybody knows your name.

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RE: Where Everybody Knows Your Name (video)

Rewards card ricochet

Walk up to cafe counter. Greeted by older woman who scans my rewards card.

“Your name is Zero … *she looks at me, then back at the register * …and you have $1 off a kid’s meal.”

“Yes, that’s true. My name is Zero. And I have $1 off a kid’s meal. Thank you.”

She smiles.


One person at a time. That works for me.

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Me to infinity


Walk up to cafe counter. Cashier greets me.

“Hi, Zero.”
She hands me my coffee cup, “Is your name short for anything?”
“Yup. It’s short for infinity.”

She blinks…

“You know, Zero One Two Three… it never ends, it just keeps going forever.”

And finally she laughs. Which is good, because, believe or not, this was an answer I’d never given before.

New name material is always good.

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And then there's always the new guy…

And then there’s always the new guy…

Walk up to cafe counter. New guy takes my order. Rings me up. Looks at my card. Reads my name..


Looks at me.


I smile and nod.

“That’s your name?”


“You must have…” he pauses, as if not sure he wants to commit to it.

I wait for it…

“…interesting parents.”


Not as bad as I was expecting.

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