A friend who is a speech therapist explained that the mix-up stems from my saying my name with a soft ‘b.’ To learn to say a hard ‘b,’ she suggested I place my hand in front of my mouth and practice repeating my name, so that I can feel my breath strike my palm.
I practiced and practiced, to no avail. Recognizing defeat, I have considered changing my name to Dan, but then everyone would probably call me Ben.
Another option is to go by Benjamin (I can hear it now, ‘Danjamin’). Benjamin, however, sounds to stuffy. I would rather be known as Dan.
Despite the difficulties it imposes, I am at peace with my dual identity. Given the ordinariness of my name it would be narcissistic to take offense at someone thinking I am one of the 1,193,150 Dans in America?rather than one of the 330,750 Bens.