Busted Axle Road
Chapter 3

Copyright© 1993, 2001, 2010

Tiffany Langenderfer-McMahon was the only child in Linda Clark's class with a hyphenated name, and it bothered Mrs. Clark more than it should have. As well as anyone in Spearfish Lake could, she understood the reason for it, but never the less, it bothered her.

First, it was a long name, and that caused any number of troubles any time there was a standardized form to fill out. There were plenty of those, since fourth grade was a time of testing. There were five different standardized tests that the children would have to take for various statistical purposes over the course of the year, in addition to three or four that they had to take every year. Every test had a computerized form, and each one of the forms had a block that allowed only sixteen letters for the last name. "Langenderfer-McMahon" counted up to twenty letters, counting the hyphen, which the computers ignored. If you tried to squeeze the extra letters into the form, then the results came back with "LANGENDERFERMCMA" printed out in dot matrix.

On the other hand, she you tried to send the test through as "MCMAHON, TIFFANY L", she'd catch it from Tiffany's mom, who she'd known since kindergarten.

That situation would only get worse, as the school was going to computerized grading the next year. Thank goodness some fifth grade teacher was going to have to be the one to have to come to grips with the school computer.

Linda had brought the subject up to her husband, Ryan, once, since he knew more about computers than she did. He hadn't been any help. "It could be worse," he'd said. "Imagine if she got married to someone else with a hyphenated name? I mean, how'd you like to have to deal with, oh, Langenderfer-McMahon-Caserowski-Clark?"

For that matter, if you were going to put the kid into alphabetical order for some reason or another, like in a grade book, where did you put her? Under "L", or "M", or maybe "Mc?" If you chose the last, did the "Mc" go ahead of or after the "M"s?

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