What Your Name Says About You

Nothing. Nothing at all. Names are merely letters arranged in order designed to identify someone. They are not speaking beings. You want to get this sort of thing clear before you venture out on the footpath – else the fireplugs will start singing Disney songs. And the Department will come to get you.

I used to think that a person’s name was a dead-set indicator of their history, if not their character. Llewellen Chondomely ffitch-ffitch Smythe suggested an effete sort of English snob. In reality Lt. Commander ffitch-ffitch Smythe was an intrepid airman in the RNAS who courageously bombed seaplane sheds and was awarded the highest honour in the land.

The fact that the sheds were at Yarmouth and the award was from Kaiser Wilhelm II is neither here not there. The English upper classes were never known for good eyesight.

I was also willing to believe that names were native to certain lands and whoever bore one was guaranteed to be genuinely from there. The advent of the Bombay scam call and the number of John Halvorsens and Lars Jensens with Peter Sellers accents put an end to that. Not that I would trust Scandinavians all that much either – at least not to breathe around. I do take people at face value, but I need to see the face and determine whether it is attached to an actual body.

Is it possible to change a name successfully? Yes, of course – you can apply to a government office for this and generally a court will grant it. You can’t get a number of offensive names for reasons of public decency…though if you wanted to be named ” Clive P. Almer ” they probably wouldn’t stop you. However consider that forever after someone will be adding your previous name as well, separated only by an AKA.

That’s the government sorted. Getting ordinary people to learn and remember your new name is another matter. Some will never do so – they have you fixed firmly as A and will never say B. They may not be malicious in this – just forgetful. Correct them as long as you wish. It will never be long enough.

The best bet is to change your name to the same one you bore before but just add the date of renewal at the end. I’m Dick Stein ( 2021 ) and I am an unlimited liability.

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