What’s in a name?

For years I have been spelling my name for people. In fact, when asked for my last name, I immediately start spelling, because if I say “McDonnell,” the other person invariably writes/hears “McDonald.”
My uncle, whose last name is MacNamara, has similar problems, especially with people whose first language is not English.
For instance…
Last week he and my aunt went to their favourite Chinese take-away. The procedure is this: you make your order, leave your name, and sit and wait until they call your name. My aunt and uncle have been doing this for ages, and everytime, the counterperson has difficulty with the family name. It takes longer to get the name issue resolved than it does to place the order in the first place.
So, last week, my uncle tried to make things easier. When the counterperson asked him for his last name, he said “It’s too long. Just call me John.”
Then he and my aunt sat waiting for ages, wondering why “Mr. Tulong” wasn’t picking up his order…