So my name is Xavier, and you can say it the right way, or the wrong way. At least thirty percent of you get it wrong. There are only 26 letters in the alphabet, but still it’s beyond so many to pronounce them all correctly.
Those same people often don’t have any trouble remembering every Masterchef contestant, although there have been way more than 26 of them. ‘X’ certainly isn’t a popular letter, but still far more commonly used in the kitchen than every Masterchef entrant. For example: Xouba, XO sauce, Xanthones, X-cat-ik chillies, Xavier souppe and Xavier steak. All true – look them up if you don’t believe me.
So what exactly is the problem? In the X-Men movies the guy in the wheelchair is Professor Charles X-Xavier. But it’s not ‘X-Xavier’ it’s ‘Xavier’. Americans pronounce the ‘X’ twice, which is technically wrong and outrageously stupid. You certainly don’t say ‘X-Xylophone’. In English, every time an ‘X’ begins a word, it makes a ‘Z’ sound. Except if that word is ‘X-ray’.
Calling me ‘X-Xavier’ is like calling someone else ‘D-David’ or ‘J-James’, or ‘M-Moron’, which is what I call people who insist that I’m the one saying it wrong. I’m not, it’s you.
Now I like my name, but it has been a little difficult growing up. Like on the first day of high school, we played a getting to know you game, where everyone in the class had to say something good about themselves, using the first letter of their name. We had ‘Excellent Erin’ and ‘Terrific Trevor’ and I was ‘Xenophobic Xavier’. I’m certainly not xenophobic, but it’s all anyone could come up with.
Whenever I order a coffee, I become ‘Tom’. Over fifty percent of all baristas cannot spell my name, and the other half cannot say it. Maybe in school, they just didn’t make it all the way to the end of the alphabet.
About a month ago, one particular juice bar was offering a freebie for anyone named Xavier. I rocked in, presented my driver’s license and ordered a banana and strawberry smoothie – the nectar of the Gods. Once it was ready, the girl shouted, ‘Xaygar’, ‘X-Xaybeir’… ‘David’?
Names go in cycles, and there are an increasing number of children these days being called ‘Xavier’, which is fine. What’s not fine is the woman on the train, in an Ed Hardy shirt and floral print leggings that looked about to burst, whose four kids were causing havoc.
One of her darling little spawn was tearing at the newspaper of an innocent young man (me). She shouted, ‘Get out of it X-Xavier!’ What hope has this kid got if his own mother can’t even say his name right?