So, when I was growing up, I read allot of Spiderman comic books. I still have my collection to this day and I am darn proud of it. I remember always thinking that my name was just a few letters off, from being Peter Parker...just like Spiderman's alter ego. I always thought as a child that it would be neat to have the name Peter Parker, just like he did.
Then I grew up. I don't buy comics anymore, but I am still a Marvel fan. I love the Marvel hero movies that have become a staple at the theatre here in the past few years. It's neat to see the hero's I grew up and read about being projected larger than life at the movies.
The second big Marvel movie to come out was Spiderman. I was pumped. I think I saw it at the theatre at least 3 times. After that, Spiderman became more popular than ever-not only for comic book geeks but for the average movie goer as well. Since then, 2 more Spiderman movies have been made and a fourth one is being rumored to be in the works. The popularity of Spiderman and his alter ego Peter Parker is now through the roof compared to his popularity before he got a movie (or 3). Spiderman, along with Peter Parker is now a household name. I'm pretty sure you could go into about 90% of American homes these days and ask who Peter Parker is, and you'll be told (without hesitation) that he is Spiderman.
This is where my dilemma comes in. You see...my name is Philip Parker and now on a daily basis, I get called Peter. For the most part, it's not intentional, but annoying all the same. I used to think it would be cool to have that name growing up, but now that it's my bane, I don't care much for it. I just want people to call me Philip. I don't just get this in one place. I get it at work, on the phone, in e-mails, at home, out in public, pretty much everywhere.
At work, I get e-mails and letters addressed to "Peter" or "Peter Parker." They don't bother to read my first name, and if they do, it doesn't click. All they see is a "P" and a "Parker" following it, and they assume it's Peter. It's not intentional, but it's almost like a natural reaction. People call me at work, clients and customers, all calling me Peter despite the fact that I answer the phone and say "Thank you for for calling, this is Philip." When I correct them, they always say they are sorry, and then wonder out loud where they got "Peter" from. I know exactly where they got it from...same place every other person gets it from. Those dadgum Spiderman movies.
Out in public, when I meet someone new, I always introduce myself, and the following verbal sparring takes place:
Philip: Hi, nice to meet you, I'm Philip Parker.
John Doe: Philip Parker...ahh...like Peter Parker...like Spiderman...I get it.
Philip: Yes, I get that all the time, so...
John: That's so cool...so people call you Peter all the time?
Philip: Yes, believe it or not, every day.
John: I'll have to remember that!
That's pretty much how it goes. Every day. Every time I meet someone new. Of course, then it's not long before they figure out that my initials are "PP". That's not fun either.
Today, at work, I had a new one. I got a reply e-mail back from a client, and I was happy to see it addressed to "Philip". Then I looked further, and realized it was actually addressed to "Philip Peters". Unbelievable.
This has got to be the most annoying thing in the world...to me at least. What I once thought would be cool, I now find makes me want to pull my hair out and set my body on fire. Not really, but you get the point don't you? It never ceases to amaze me at the daily number of people who call me Peter. Most of the time, they don't even know why they called me that. It's that natural of a reaction for them. I guess it speaks to the popularity of the good 'ole web slinger, but it definitely doesn't speak to their popularity with me.
At this point in time, I've just come to realize this is my burden to bear in life. My only hope is that the memory of Spiderman eventually fades from everyone's memory and eventually one day, people will begin to realize that my name is actually Philip. Exactly how I sign all of my e-mails and letters, exactly how I answer the phone and exactly how I introduce myself. I know to some of you this may sound trivial, but trust me, after the 428,572,989th time that you are mistaken for Peter, I promise it gets old. Until then, I'm sure I'll continue to be tortured by this. All I can do is pray it doesn't one day send me over the edge where I really do go nuts, dress like a piñata and walk into a mexican birthday party.