My dad’s name was Alfred Person. Information listed him with only his first name’s initial: Person, A. In the mood for fun, I called directory assistance and asked for the telephone number of A. Person in Paterson, New Jersey. 
            “What is the name?” she asked.
            “A. Person in Paterson, New Jersey,” I repeated.
            “Don’t be smart with me.”
            “I’m not. I’m looking for A. Person in Paters—”
            She hung up on me.
            My dad made a dinner reservation to celebrate my mom’s birthday, saying, “Five persons, and the name is Person.” We got to the restaurant, but had no reservation and had to wait an hour to be seated because the hostess thought Dad’s call was a prank.
            When my brother left for college, Dad told him to call person-to-person. A week later, my homesick brother telephoned.
            The operator said, “What is your name, please?” 
            “Philip Person.”
            “And who do you wish to call?”
            “Alfred Person.” 
            “Let me get this straight. This is a person-to-person phone call from Philip Person to Alfred Person?”
            When Dad spoke at meetings, he was introduced as “Alfred Person, in person.” He never worked in a Personnel Department.
             I always hear, “You’re an actual person, huh?” or “What kind of person are you?” or “Look, it’s Elaine Person!” That sounds like “a lame person,” right? 
            One of my nicknames was Ms. Personality. I liked that. In eighth grade, a friend dubbed me “People.” I didn’t like that. The first day of high school, he shouted down the hall, “Hey, People!”

            I said, “We’re grown up now. Don’t call me that anymore.”

           Often people don’t believe their ears and think I’m Pearson, or add an “S” to Person, which makes me plural. I’m not married, so I say, “Person: I’m single, and it’s singular.”
           My dad told people, “You’re a person, and I’m a Person.” In his case, he really was A. Person.
           During phone calls, I spell “Person” to people who want to make it what it’s not. “Person. You know, P-E-R-S-O-N—the simple word you learned to spell in grade school. It’s easy. Like Smith. S-M-I-T-H, but it’s Person.” My niece got married, and her last name changed from Person to Smith.
           My parents could have made things worse by naming my brother Rich, Frank, Harry, or Tanner Person. My sister and I could have been Merry, Gabby, Minnie, or Ima Person.
           My brother dated Rhonda Small. Had he married her, she would be Rhonda Small Person.
           In college, it was rumored that my last name used to be Mann, but with women’s liberation I changed it to Person. 

            A friend came to pick me up from the hospital’s emergency room. At the information desk, she said, “I’m here for…uh…‘Person.’”
            The employee said, “Of course you’re here for a person. This isn’t a veterinary clinic.” My friend found out what I go through daily.
             My name is Miss Elaine E. S. Person. Miscellaneous Person. I’m a real person.