What’s In A Name

I’ve been reading (i.e. trying to get through) Yann Martel’s Life of Pi and in the first part of the novel the protagonist mentions how he changed his name from Piscine to “Pi” after years of relentless teasing:

“It it true that those we meet can change us, sometimes so profoundly that we are not the same afterwards, even unto our names.” – Yann Martel

I was fortunate enough to not be tormented too much about my name.  My immigrant parents were smart and put an American/English name on my birth certificate (something easy enough for my teachers to pronounce and not resembling an expletive in English).

I do remember one girl in the 3rd grade who desperately tried to make fun of me by rhyming my name with other phrases –

  • Pay me Amy
  • Lamey Amy (I’m certain it was lamey and not lay me.  In 1990, 8 year olds were still shielded from the vulgarity that exists in our K-12 schools now.)

It bothered me for a short while, but not enough for me to want to change my name.

I did always wish my name was LONGER.  I had no middle name (most Korean kids used their Korean names for this purpose, but I did not have one of these until I was 10), so my name was six letters long.  3 letters for the first name, 3 letters for the last name.  I envied the Greek girl whose last name was 5 syllables long.  5!


I now have a middle name.  After I was married, I made the decision to use my maiden name as my middle name.   I also decided to give my future children the longest names ever.

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3 thoughts on “What’s In A Name

  1. they’re not going to like you when they start learning to spell their names! rather their teachers won’t like you. that’s what nicknames are for 🙂 our girls have a short first name but also a middle name, korean name, and chinese name. Yeah, we’re difficult 😛

  2. long names can be a hassle when filling out the bubbles in scantron and standardized tests. i plan to give my children 3 syllable names though 🙂 my reasoning? i’m in love with nicknames. long names are the best for shortening ’em up in creative ways.

  3. i loved my maiden name because it was so long (that’s what she said) and i love filling out forms

    in elementary school..the movie “dick tracy” came out..and people started calling me that…worst nickname ever…

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