Many moons ago, around 1485, I managed a Customer Service/Sales Office for a brake lining and clutch facing company. Two telephone girls, Janet and Jean took most of the incoming calls, dealing with stock availability, orders and delivery information.
One memorable day Janet took a call and suddenly collapsed into a fit of uncontrollable laughter, and frantically gestured to me to take the call, since she obviously couldn't.
I took over the phone and asked with whom I was speaking and had to fight back a surge of hysterics welling up inside when a little man's voice declared unwavering, "Mr Bollock!"
Valiantly, I managed to say, "Good morning Mr Bollock, how may I assist you?" . . . . . and there were gales of laughter in the office, as they overheard me. I continued, "I am sorry the young lady earlier experienced a severe coughing attack and you were almost cut off!"
He said, "She didn't have a coughing attack did she, it's my name isn't it? I have that effect on everyone whenever I telephone about anything!"
I said, "Well, if you don't mind me saying so, it is a slightly unusual name . . . . "
He interjected, "If my ancestors had chosen the plural version things might have been slightly better, do you think it might help if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Bollocks' "?
I struggled so hard to retain my composure.
I said, "Well really, Mr Bollock, I don't think it is quite my place to say, but I am inclined to think you'd get the same response if you did that."
He said, "I thought so too. Since you are the only person who has managed not to laugh I think I can talk to you. Tell me, do you think if I changed my name from 'Bollock' to 'Balls' do you think the young lady would have laughed so hard? You see I want to keep the pedigree of my name intact?"
I really had tears of suppressed laughter in my eyes but somehow managed to say, "Regrettably I think the answer might be yes, but if I might make a small suggestion, if you use the singular version, 'Ball', then I don't think you would have any problem and you will find that would mirror your present name almost exactly in a non-humorous way, and you would be preserving the pedigree of your name at the same time."
He was over the moon and thanked me so much and said excitedly, "Right, tomorrow I am starting procedures to change my name from Bollock to Ball by deed poll." (I bet he got a laugh there as well.) . . . . and he continued, "when I ring again about a future query I shall look forward to giving your young lady my new name and her being able to handle my call without any laughter."
Oh dear, I was really struggling by now and somehow I managed to deal with his call before collapsing in a heap on the floor, quite helpless.
When I told the office what had happened we all were in absolute uncontrollable hysterics for 10 minutes and had to close down the telephone lines until we recovered; hoping that we did not get another call from Mr Bollock. That would have been too much.
I often see Janet in my home town and we always laugh about this, even though it occurred 30 years ago.