What’s in a (middle) name?

It’s common to give people second or middle names, as a way to distinguish one Joe Schmoe from another, especially if you’re having a child who’ll inherit a common surname. In some countries (like traditional parts of Latin America), it’s done with combinations of parents’ surnames. In the U.S. South, the middle name is often the mother’s middle name.

Having a middle name can make my name look more formal when I get my masters degree, Charles Nicholas Copley, MSCS(Masters of Science, Computer Science, my ultimate collegiate goal). It looks classy and elegant, reeks of tradition, sounds like something traditionally English.

I’m seriously considering dropping the idea of a middle name altogether. That means my diploma will read as Charles Copley, MSCS, or Charles Copley, MSIS (MS, Information Science).


For one, I want something that is simple. As much as we consider espresso drinks “gourmet” compared to brewed or drip coffee, my usual double shot (doppio, in Italian) is still far simpler than a tall decaf triple, nonfat, caramel macchiato with extra drizzle. I want a reliable pair of Levi’s that I know will last me at least a couple of years, that costs $35-$50, than spend $100 on a pair of A&F that I doubt is anywhere the quality despite the name brand–and I don’t wear name brand clothes, except for a few polos I wear from Aéropostale that shows the A’87 on the shirt.

Simple, easy to remember, reliable; short and sweet, but still a bit classy.

Also, with each level of government assigning me a series of numbers unique to me, why does it matter if I have one or not?

Most of the American Founding Fathers had no middle names. And having a middle initial, while it may connote intelligence, doesn’t mean you are any more intelligent. People with wealth and degrees use them, and we usually think they’re intelligent; working people usually don’t and are socially perceived as “less” intelligent (which is a bunch of bull, of course!).

It will take a couple of pay period for me to save up enough money to change my name and get my picture ID changed. I can even get just a case worker at this point to sign off the paperwork for the driver’s license, and there should be no reason for the courts to deny me my name change, especially because it is still based on my birth name.

There is still the need for me to pursue getting my birth certificate changed, but fewer places are asking that as proof of residency and citizenship. All they need is my ID and SS card. While the name change will set me back at least $200, everything else is a more manageable $11 for the ID marker change, $5-$15 for notarized copies of stuff here and there, nothing I could not afford or ask to borrow to only repay later.

There is still the need to anatomically remedy my body, but the name and gender marker change is more important for social and legal reasons now, especially since I only have 2 years till I graduate, and easier to change my name now, than getting my name changed later and then having to work with the college to reproduce everything and update their databases about me.

I can always save up for a couple of binders and stand-to-pee packers, too; maybe even ask for them for Christmas? Or ask for the cash for the name and ID changes, and get those myself? 😉

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