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That’s My Name

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We’re still trying–unsuccessfully–to email my column to Newswithviews. I am wiped out with frustration. Meanwhile, Joshua wondered how to pronounce my name, so I thought I might elaborate on that.

My paternal grandfather was born in Paris and came here as a boy. Our original surname was “Duigou,” and you can imagine how that got mangled: “Dooey-Gooey” springs to mind. So he changed it to “Duigon.”

My mother’s German surname wasn’t much better: “Leis,” pronounced “Lice.” So they took to pronouncing it “Lease.”

All my life I’ve heard my name botched and butchered. “Doo-jee-on.” “Doo-gan.” One man pronounced it “Dugong,” an animal related to the manatee. Once at Sunday school, when they were handing out attendance badges, the superintendent called me up to the stage as “Diggin.” Which inspired me to exclaim, “My name ain’t Diggin, it’s Duigon!” I think that happened when I was ten years old.

Six measly letters–how hard could it be? I mean, it’s not “Suppiluliamas,” is it? But he was king of the Hittites, and it was probably dangerous to mangle his name. And you could always call him “Your Majesty” if you got stuck. I have to settle for “Hey, you.”

Anyway, the correct pronunciation is “Dui”–as in “ruin” or “bruin”–“gon.” I can live with “Dwee-gon.” I strongly believe that Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays would never, ever have become stars if either of them had been saddled with my name.

“Wow! I read a really good book by… well, some guy, whatsisname…”

*Sigh*


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