One of the first rules of journalism is this: if you want to offend someone, get their name wrong in print.
With a short name like mine, it's pretty damn hard to offend me. But in recent weeks my hackles have risen because the rheumatologist I have been seeing about my arthritis has got it into his head that my name is Kimberley. (Or, more accurately, my rheumatologist's secretary has got it into her head that I couldn't possibly have a name as short as Kim.)
When I pointed out this error at my last appointment, he blamed his secretary for making assumptions. Unfortunately, because he scribbled out the "berley" part of the name on my prescription, it caused me all kinds of grief at the pharmacy because they thought I was trying to acquire someone else's drug supply.
When I phoned the rheumatologist's office yesterday to make another appointment, I told the secretary that my real name was not Kimberley. She apologised and said that was probably her error. She promised to alter their database straight away so that it would not happen again.
Today I received a written confirmation of my appointment. Guess who it was address to? That's right: Kimberley.
I'm glad that secretary is not in charge of issuing passports or birth certificates!