We got a phone call from another telemarketer the other night, which isn’t unusual, what would be unusual, though, would be to NOT get a call from a telemarketer at all, but anyway, I digress, so the guy says, “Ah, is Mrs. Hooobaard there?” Huh? Even if Mrs. HUBBARD was at home, which she was, I wouldn’t have called her to the phone because I knew it was a telemarketer but I definitely wasn’t calling Mrs. HOOOBAARD to the phone because nobody by that name lives here.
Seriously? Mrs. HOOBAARD?! Where’d this guy grow up anyway? And no, judging by his very Canadian accent, he wasn’t an outsourced out of the country type guy who wouldn’t have heard a nursery rhyme or two growing up any place where they speak English. You’d have thought that someone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of nursery rhymes would have heard of “Old Mother Hubbard”, wouldn’t you?
Do you know how many times in my life I have been bugged by the “Old Mother Hubbard” routine when people have seen or heard my last name? Probably not, but take a guess. Okay? Have you thought of a number? Now double it and you might be close.
“Hey Hubbard…where’s your old mother?” Haw Haw.
“Hey Hubbard…where’s your poor dog?” Haw Haw. “Did he get his bone, yet?”
“Hey Hubbard…is your cupboard bare?” Haw Haw. Hee Hee.
Yup, that’s a good one there, buddy. Yuk, yuk. Very original, too. Mm hmm. Yes, I’ve probably heard them all.
I mean, really, c’mon, it’s only two syllables…Hubb…that’s one…ard…that’s two. Put them together now…Hubbard. Simple enough? Yes? I guess…no.
It’s not like it’s Logiudici or Scieszka or Tchoupitoulas or anything. Now, those names I would believe that you could butcher… but Hubbard? Sheesh!
Just out of curiosity I checked to see how long the Old Mother Hubbard nursery rhyme had been kicking around and I found out that its roots go back to the 16th Century as an old English folk song and that the verses were passed down through the generations until a version by Sarah Catherine Martin (1768–1826) recited it while staying with her sister at Kitley House, Yealmpton in Devon which was then published as The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog by J. Harris in June of 1805. It became one of the most popular publications of the 19th Century. The original publication had fifteen verses and I can’t recall ever hearing or seeing them all until I looked it up today.
Yes, we Hubbard’s have taken some ribbing over our name and, in fact, for years and years my oldest brother Jack’s nickname was “Mom” as in “Mother Hubbard”. He even had it embroidered on his hockey jacket for crying out loud. Now that’s laughing in the face of teasing, isn’t it?
But, you know, you can’t choose your surname…well, you can, I guess, but you are just altering the original unless you’re a parentless child, or something, so unless you’re a celebrity and you’ve changed your name from Marion Morrison to John Wayne or from Norma Jean Mortenson to Marilyn Monroe or from Chad Johnson to Chad Ochocinco (why?) then most of us will just stick to what we were born with. In the end, and regardless of the teasing, I am very proud of my surname. Just get it right, please.
“Tigers die and leave their skins; people die and leave their names.”-Japanese Proverb.Hub