A few months ago, my husband Patrick casually mentioned to me, "You know, I was watching TV the other night and there was this ad for Hulu [the cable network] that came on. They started talking about you!"
"What?" I shouted incredulously. "What do you mean Hulu was talking about me? That makes no sense at all!"
"Yeah," he insisted. "They did."
"Well, what were they saying?" I demanded. "That's impossible!"
"I don't know... something about promoting you or 'presenting Nancy du Tertre...' something like that. I don't remember. But they said your name."
"No, not at all!" he insisted. "I was wide awake. I heard them play the ad more than once."
This made no sense at all to me.
"Well, why didn't you call me downstairs so I could hear it? Didn't it occur to you that that might be something I should hear?"
"I'll let you know if I hear it again."
A few days later, Patrick came running upstairs breathless and said, "Come on! Hurry up! It's the Hulu ad and you're on again!"
I went running downstairs and into the room where Patrick had put the TV on pause. He replayed the ad. I stared hard at the TV. I heard nothing unusual. Certainly, not my name.
"Did you hear the name Nancy or Nancy du Tertre or something else?" I demanded.
"I heard something like '... now presenting Nancy du Tertre.'" Patrick sounded confident. "There... right there! Don't you hear it?" He jumped up excitedly pointing at the TV screen.
"No. Play it again."
Anyway, we replayed that Hulu ad more than 40 times. I knew every word by heart and my name was no where in the ad. I began to feel sorry for Patrick. Worse, I began to wonder about his mental health. I asked if he had seen his doctor recently. He began sweating profusely.
"Maybe it's time for me to get a brain scan," he conceded nervously.
So I recorded the relevant portion of the Hulu ad on my iphone. Patrick suggested I try playing it for someone else to see if they could hear what he was hearing.
One day later, my 18-year-old son wandered through my room and I said, "Hey William. Could you do me a favor and tell me if you hear anything unusual on this tape?"
I had barely pressed the play button and was trying to listen for the start when suddenly I heard the announcer's voice boom out my full name "Nancy du Tertre." What the hell! I was completely shocked. While Nancy is a relatively common first name, my last name is French and notoriously difficult for Americans to remember or pronounce. I always joke with radio show hosts that they can call me "Nancy Two Turtles" since no one ever gets my name right. It was beyond bizarre that this Hulu ad contained my last name with its correct pronunciation!
"Did you hear that?" I asked in amazement.
"Yeah, the guy said your name," said William un-phased.
After informing Patrick that he was not crazy after all (he canceled his doctor's appointment), I played the tape for several other people who also heard varying degrees of "now presenting Nancy du Tertre."
So what did this mean? It had the bizarre quality of alien or paranormal electronic interference - and I have heard many such recordings. Sometimes they are clear and sometimes fuzzy and difficult to decipher. When I finally heard my name on this Hulu ad embedded in other words, it was unbelievably clear as a bell. Often, people hear their own name being called out. It's a kind of auditory pareidolia - like a Rorschach inkblot test onto which one projects one's own thoughts or expectations. But clearly, I wasn't the person hearing my name in the Hulu ad. So that didn't make sense. Should I presume there is some cosmic connection or futuristic clue? Is this some omen? I am at a total loss to comprehend this weird glitch.