But here in the U.S., nobody (other than those with close ties to the Dutch) seems to be able to spell my name correctly. Let’s begin with the first name, “Gerrit.” People have spelled my name Gerritt, Garrit, Garrett, Garret, Geritt, Gerrits, and Garet. Other variations must exist—I’ve just forgotten them. Then there’s the Hansen vs. Hanson dilemma. (According to the 2000 census data, "Hansen" is ranked as the 193rd most popular last name in the USA, whereas "Hanson" is ranked at 251. So, "Hansen" SHOULD be the default! But why does everyone want to spell it with an "O"?) Sometimes I even get Henson.
So I got to thinking, “If I make it to the big time, I’m going to register a few more domain names: garretthanson dot com, garretthansen dot com, gerritthansen dot com, etc.” Each one, if not already taken, would come up with a simple message, “Were you looking for author Gerrit Hansen?” A “Yes” button would take a person to the correct home page, and a “No” button would take the internet surfer to a blue screen. But those are only humorous, mischievous thoughts.
I can handle strangers not knowing how to spell my name, but when friends who have known me for more than thirty years are still getting it wrong, what can I do? I know I have to find a better avenue for venting my frustration than pulling out my hair.
“Aha!” some of you may say. “So that’s why his hair is thinning on top!”
My response: Just remember, the name “Gerrit” means, “brave with a spear.”