My apologies to anyone named Chad.

I don’t write much about my relationships prior to meeting Susan. Possibly I subconsciously think these stories aren’t interesting, but more likely it’s a defense mechanism. If I don’t write about past girlfriends, they won’t write about me. Although Stacey, who I dated unseriously for only eight months, has popped up on my blog quite a few times.

At the start of many relationships, single people arrive with a sidekick, a wingman (or wingwoman) as it were. A friend to get increasingly jealous and pissed off over the dwindling time they get to spend with their bestie. Stacey came with one of these. Her name was Marti, they were a package deal.

Like the toddler twin brothers who lived down the street and babbled to each other for hours using only nonsense words but still understood each other clearly, Stacey and Marti had their own language. One of them would utter a random word or a phrase which seemed to convey an entire story to the other. Sometimes they just shared a look, and I could tell they were in full agreement in a silent discussion that excluded me. The most common word they used was “Chad.” Chad was an insult.

Prepster, frat-boy, square—these were synonyms for Chad. Chad was uncool. Chad had no edge. Chad was like everyone else. I was Chad, at least to Marti. She was disgusted with Stacey’s boyfriend choice. Irritated that she was losing her friend to me. I worked for a Fortune 500 defense contractor deep in the Virginia suburbs. My D.C. neighborhood was safe and suburban. I played soccer on a men’s team every weekend. As far as Marti was concerned, you could tattoo Chad on my forehead.

Marti’s impression of me and my own self image clashed. I indeed had a tattoo, not on my forehead, but on my ankle. In 1992 (v. 2023) tattoos were comparatively rare. I listened to punk music. I lived in the city. I mountain biked. Edgy all around. I thought myself quite hip. Marti’s disdain felt unfair and misplaced. That Stacey seemed to share it at times drove me nuts.

From the start of the 1992 presidential campaign, I aligned with Bill Clinton. I even built his campaign office a spreadsheet to help manage and maximize his advertising budget. I affixed a Clinton sticker to my bumper at the start of the primaries and proudly displayed it through the general election. On the weekend after Clinton won the election, Stacey and I walked out of a party onto a deserted D.C. side street. When we got to my car, Stacey picked at the sticker while she spoke through clenched teeth: “” She dramatically ripped the sticker off as she finished her sentence. That night, I learned that Bill Clinton was also Chad.

~ ~ ~

Yesterday at work, I called Comcast. For those readers who don’t live in the United States, Comcast is a behemoth telecom company known for crappy customer service. I needed to update some information on the government grant that funds the high-speed internet in all our library branches. The conversation started exactly like they always do for me: “Welcome to Comcast, this is Cathy, can I have your name?”

“Jeff Cann”

“Hi Chad, can I put you on hold?”

This happens all the freaking time. Chad or Chet, they never hear Jeff. Giving my name at restaurants, bowling alleys, bike shops, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, to receptionists in office buildings, and on countless telephone customer service lines, they always get it wrong.

 After a brief wait, Cathy picked up the phone. “Thanks for holding, Chad.”

“Why don’t you give them an easier name to understand?” This idea came from Sophie. Being a teenager, she has an uncanny ability to cut through the BS and get right to the point. She knows I’d rather be Simon than Chet or Chad.

Another long hold… “I appreciate your patience, Chad.”

There just seems to be something about me. My brother-in-law, Susan’s sister’s husband, is named Chuck. Even though I’ve been in the family since 1997, Chuck was there first. From day-one, and then every time we spoke over the past twenty-five years, Susan’s mother called me either Cheff or Juck.

Comcast couldn’t figure out which department to transfer me to. My phone screen mockingly counted the length of the call—past twenty minutes, past thirty, and then forty minutes. I spent ninety-five percent of the call on hold, mercifully without hold music or any advertising announcements. Every five minutes, Cathy picked up the phone and asked, “Are you still with me Chad?”

I tried to keep busy. I’m conscious about company time. I had more calls I needed to make, but other than that, I was pretty caught up at work. Somewhere between thirty and thirty-five minutes, I opened a Word document. Channeling my building annoyance, I wrote: “My apologies to anyone named Chad…”

23 thoughts on “Chad

  1. A long time ago in Egypt, I met a rich, arrogant sod called Kamal.
    K is for Kingly
    A is for Aristocratic
    M is for Majestic
    A is for…
    And he went on!!!!!
    You could try:-

    I said Jeff. That’s
    J is for Jocular
    E is for Effervescent
    F is for Funny
    F is for F you if you call me Chad again!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Argh you poor thing. I don’t think Stacey was the one for you and I’m so glad you found your other half. I’ve heard “Chad” spoken about disdainfully and felt sorry for the guy – poor thing. I for one think the name JEFF is awesome and really suits you. I can also commiserate with you because no matter how clearly I say it, I get called “Shannon”. How that gets confused with “JANET” is beyond me, but like you – it happens everywhere. Starbucks, takeaway orders, always on the phone to companies and it’s so frustrating. I like the photo of Bill Clinto with…some guy? Lol. Hope you have a good week xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hah! Laughing out loud at this line: “Hi Chad, can I put you on hold?” Also, to remember having a college crush on a Chad (who, come to think of, also was “a Chad” which didn’t typically appeal to me, but in him it was oddly endearing). Great post, Jeff! Thanks for this chuckle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think only the parents of a “Chad” would name their child Chad. I did date a female version of a Chad once. I think that rocky experience proved that I had very little Chad in my blood.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the part when Stacey picked at the bumper sticker and spoke through clenched teeth. I felt every bit of that. Interesting how people see us and how we see ourselves. People tell me often that I remind them of someone they know. It always makes me feel ordinary even though I think they mean it as a compliment of familiarity. I am probably a Chadette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My wife is always being told that she reminds people of someone. She also has multiple conversations daily with strangers. Some people display an openness that invites others inside. I think this openness makes them seem familiar. Others (me) walk around withdrawn, closed off, with a little dark cloud hanging over them. No one mistakes me for anyone.


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