I remember Jenny left hers at her apartment and was
"Miranda" for a day. I always kept my name tag in my locker, as I
generally changed from street clothes to costume before work, and
back again after. But sometimes, I'd have a spare costume at my
apartment and if I worked the dreadful 7 am stock shift, I'd come
directly to work in costume, sans name tag. Rather than go all the
way to the locker room simply for a name tag, I'd take one from the
basket. And thus, Jacob was born.
At first, I only used "Jacob" whenever I didn't want
to head to my locker. But soon, I started alternating regularly
between "Albert" for vending and "Jacob" for stocking. It added
variety towards my days, and everyone in the department already knew
"Jacob = Albert" anyway. He became my go-to name so often that the
managers eventually just let me keep the name tag rather than always
returning it to the basket.
Although my fellow cast members knew that "Jacob =
Albert," the guests didn't. This wasn't really an issue, as I didn't
see a need to correct a guest if they called me Jacob (e.g. "Jacob,
where's the nearest bathrooms?" or "Excuse me, Jacob, do you guys
take the Dining Plan?"). As far as they knew, that was my name.
However, there was one memorable occasion that I always remember,
because I ended up being neither Albert nor Jacob that day. I was
It was a hot summer day and I was in a workaholic
mood. The faster I worked, the faster my shift would end, the faster
I could just relax in the Learning Center and watch Robin Hood for
the hundredth time before going home. I was nearing the end of my
shift and just arrived at a popcorn wagon with one last stock to do.
The vendor needed to restock on drinks and ice, and so I started
re-arranging their drink wagon in order to restock it and add more
I had started scooping ice from one slot in the
wagon and dumping it into another in order to clear room to add the
new drinks. Nearby, I suddenly hear a guest asking, "Hey, Jacob, can
you put some in my bucket?" I forgot I was wearing Jacob that day,
and continued scooping, having no idea the guest was referring to me
or to any ice. This confused the guest, so he asked again, "Jacob,
can I have some?" I still had no idea he was talking to me, and in
my head I'm thinking that some kid is not giving their dad some
popcorn. The guest mutters something to his wife, maybe he's saying
the name wrong. I then hear, "Yakub? Hey, Yakub?" It was pronounced
exactly as it's spelt.
Hearing "Jacob" pronounced as "Yakub" sounded so
strange that I had to look up to see who it was. The guest was so
relieved that I actually looked up, that he smiled and said, "Did I
say it right?" Thanks to my sunglasses, the guest doesn't see my
eyes dart down quickly to my name tag. The light bulb goes off.
Oops. I was Jacob today. Wanting to save face and not make the guest
feel bad that he asked for me three times, I tell him "Yes, you got
"I've never heard it pronounced that way before,"
the guest tells me. "That's pretty cool."
"It can be either way," I say to him. "Yakub is an
Eastern European variation of pronouncing Jacob." Writing about it
now, it's actually quite believable as there are "J" names in other
languages that don't actually use the "J", like Juan or Johann. But
at the time, I was lying through my teeth and hoping the guest
wasn't Eastern European. "Most everyone calls me Jake," I continue.
"I'm only Yakub when my parents are mad and call me by my full
name." This gets a laugh from the guest.
"Hahaha, I know that feeling!" He completely forgets
about the ice, and goes off on his way. "See ya later, Yakub!" I
wave bye to him and resume my work. After that, I knew to make sure
to always check which name I was using in order to avoid situations
like that. My Jacob name tag now sits proudly next to my Albert name
tags, along with my Ivan name tag (which got far less use, and stems
mainly from a joke from the BBC sitcom "Coupling"). Sadly, I don't
have an official Skippy name tag, but that's another story for
another Thursday Treasure.