Hello. My name is Adam Hall, and I am Tenor Dad. Phew. That is a load off! When I started writing this blog, it was mostly for my friends and family, but still I referred to myself as “Tenor Dad,” mostly because I thought it was funny to do so. Then, as my audience expanded and I began sharing personal stories to a wider audience, I decided to never use my real name on this site. Not that most of you don’t know who I am anyway, or that it would be particularly hard to track me down if you really wanted to, but at least it would be one small layer of privacy between my children and internetsuperstardom/embarrassment. But now that my reach is expanding even further, as I write for The Good Men Project, and other sites soon to be announced, it seems to me that pretending I am slightly anonymous is not a worthwhile use of my time. Plus, if you didn’t know my name, I could not tell you these two stories.
When I was away at summer camp one year (and I haaaaaaaated summer camp to begin with), we all had buddy tags on the swimming board. If we were going to go into the lake, we needed a buddy. We needed to take our two name tags, and put them on the same hook in the appropriately designated shallow or deep area of the board. These tags, for brevity, used our first initial and our last name. I suppose the person writing out these tags just misunderstood my last name when it was repeated to them, or perhaps they misread it. Either way, my last name of “Hall” was misspelled as “Hole.” Yes, my swimming tag read “A. Hole.” It was a lovely nickname that stuck for the rest of camp, and I only went swimming once the whole time.
Later on, after the memories of horrible camp experiences had faded away into only the occasional recurring nightmare, I went off to college. I was five hundred miles from home, and I was a wreck. I missed my family, I missed my girlfriend, and I missed my high school friends. Luckily, we could write letters to each other (as e-mail wasn’t fully a “thing” yet). Unluckily, one of the dorms was named “Adams Hall.” Even more unlucky still was the fact that I did not live in Adams Hall. This was unlucky because that was where all of my mail went.
Every so often I had to trudge over to Adams Hall, find the room number that matched mine in my own dorm, and ask the guys there to give me my mail. These guys were, for the most part, okay with this, except for all of the times they opened my mail looking for good stuff to take, and the one time I found them doing a dramatic reading of a love letter my girlfriend had sent me. And they were doing girly voices too. They all found it hysterical, and I found it humiliating. So I complained.
I went down to the mailroom, and spoke the employees. I informed them that my mail was going to the wrong dorm. They told me that they knew about this issue, and they thought it was funny to send my mail to the wrong place! Or rather, when they see a letter with, what appears to be, “Adams Hall” on it, they were going to toss it into the bin going to Adams Hall. They did not care to inspect each piece of mail carefully, and they all agreed that my problem was quite amusing. I was not satisfied with this response. This would not stand, so I took my complaint higher, to the offices of Student Life.
They told me to change my name. Seriously. I kid you not. They told me that the easiest way for me to solve my problem would be to make up a different name and have my mail sent that way. So I did. I changed my name to Peter Parker. I had my mother, and whoever else was sending me things, address their envelopes to Peter Parker. And this worked for a time. But one fateful break, I left my keys at home when I came back to school. I couldn’t get into my room. I couldn’t get into my building. My keys were hundreds of miles away. I asked my mother to overnight them to me, which she did. She overnighted them to Peter Parker, at my address, and when I went to pick them up, the mail room asked me for my I.D.
Now, obviously I did not have any I.D. with the name “Peter Parker” on it, and I explained the whole situation to them, and they sent the package back! They SENT IT BACK! I had no keys for days, and my mother ended up having to send them back again to one of my friends! She couldn’t even send them to my roommate because he was my arch-enemy, which is another story entirely, so she had to send them to a friend of mine and I had to spend almost a week (and many dollars on overnight mail) hanging around outside my building, praying somebody would come by and let me in without my key, which was technically against school policy.
No one from the school ever helped me. No ever cared. My only consolation was that somebody who was a big fan of the Marquis de Lafayette gave the school a huge donation the next year and they renamed “Adams Hall.” My problems were accidentally solved through the hard work and dedication of nobody. I remind them of this every time they call to ask me for money, which I will never give them. They already have all of my money anyway. And so my name, which I feel is otherwise a very fine name, has gotten to me in some trouble in the past. But now that you know what it is, please be nice to it. That name has been through a lot, and it doesn’t need any more stories like this.