Vs. Middle Names

Posted: October 6, 2011 in Odds and Ends
Tags: , , , , ,

Here’s the deal.  I’ve never been too fond of my own middle name.  My first and last names create a rhythm worthy of a blog title, but my middle name just gets in the way.  As all middle names do.  I mean, what’s the point?  How many names do we need? 

I’ve never understood the purpose of the middle name.  Is it like a spare tire?  Is it there to take over for the first name, should it be unable to perform its duties?  As far as I can tell, middle names just sit there, waiting to take up extra space on official documents.

Let’s be honest, middle names are just a wasteland of rejected first names.  We shouldn’t even call them middle names, we should refer to them as, “Not Good Enough to Be First Names.”  If they were good enough, we’d put them up front.  And if they’re not good enough, I don’t think we need them at all. 

And now, more than ever, it’s time to take a stand.  Because some people are becoming (audible gasp!) middle name dependent.  Have you, for example, ever heard of my friends Neil Harris and Sarah Parker?  Probably not.  But stick in their middle names – Patrick and Jessica – and suddenly they’re celebrities.  And the list of middle name dependent famous people is growing every day. 

Tolkien in 1916, wearing his British Army unif...

J.R.R. Tolkien...trying to recall what the J.R.R. stands for...

Where would Jamie Curtis, Tommy Jones, Marry Henner and Mary Retton be without their Lees and their Lous?  And respected thespian Daniel Lewis certainly proves that every actor has his Day.  But where is this trend taking us?

Soon, we’ll be dropping our given names entirely.  Like F. Scott Fitzgerald, our first names will become mere afterthoughts (or, because they still appear in front…beforethoughts?).  Oh, F. why do you shun your first name so?  (Well, I can’t blame Fitzgerald entirely, his parents did cruelly name him Francis).  And once we do this, it’s a slippery slope.  One of the most famous authors of all time, J.R.R. Tolkien, was so ashamed of his own middle name that he took to hiding them all and now almost everyone knows his work, and almost no one knows his name.

So, how am I going to do it?   How will I eradicate pointless middle names everywhere?  Well, it’s up to all of us.  When we have children, we simply need to resist the urge to overname them.  Remember, being in the middle causing nothing but trouble.  For example, there’s the middle child syndrome – where the second born out of three has an identity crisis because they’re sandwiched, like a middle name, between two better defined entities.  Everyone knows that middle school is the most trying time of one’s life.  People are consistently trying to eliminate the middle man.  And nobody wants to get the middle finger.  So, let’s do it, people.  Let’s get rid of them.  Before that affront found in the middle ends us all.

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Comments
  1. Kestrel Blue says:

    interesting point, if I move my middle name to be part of my first name, than i’ll be on board with this! hehe

  2. Haha great post and good points to be taken into consideration.

  3. I got lucky…out of 4 kids, I was the only one not given a middle name. They ARE stupid!

  4. heathersnyder1 says:

    I am partial to my middle name. My Dad gave it to me and I love it. It’s not really a common name. I’ve really only seen it when I was driving on the highway in St. Louis, MO. There it was spelled Lemay.
    Mine is spelled LaMay.
    I’ve only seen it pop up a few times after that, mostly last names. I seem to remember this really funny guy in Theatre Arts (the same guy writes a wicked-hilarious blog and awesomely funny screenplays) that used to sing my middle name like in an opera, “LaMay…LaMay…LaMaaaaay!”.

    Besides, you never mentioned your middle name. How do we know what to shorten it to for a celebrity-worthy initial?

  5. Lokyra Stone says:

    I always thought of middle names as First Names in disguise. You can use them as code names. Or perhaps passwords for someone to prove they know you. It’s a Secret First Name.
    Sometimes it’s also a way to placate the grandparents when you don’t choose the first names they wanted for their grandchild.
    Middle Names can also be prayers and wishes for the person to have certain qualities. They can be offerings on the altar of some hero.
    Middle Names can be secrets to cherish, or secrets to guard violently. Depending upon the name.
    Also, where would famous killers be without middle names? Mark David Chapman. John Wayne Gacy.

    Also, I love my middle name. And my first name. And both my last names.

  6. #4 says:

    The world is full of same-name-people. Just look in the phone book (are those still around?). If you have a room full of John Smiths or Cranston Snords, a few middle names make it easier to tell them apart; that is assuming you want to tell them apart.
    This has come in handy for genealogy research as one or more middle names can pinpoint an individual several generations back.
    Personally I could do without my middle name, but it rhymes with the middle names of my three brothers so it gets a good laugh every once in a while.
    Middle names come in handy for initials as well (except mine of course), if you throw in a middle initial, then you, Mr. McBee, become more than just a candy coated chocolate.

  7. angelina says:

    Personally i like middle names. They make you feel destinguished. My middle name was taken from Celeste Holm (the celeste part not the holm) so i kinda feel old hollywoodish

  8. Having a middle name is like owning a reversible belt. Odds are that you’ll wear one of the two sides the majority of the time, but you have the confidence of knowing that were you to suddenly abandon your penchant for black suits, and acquire a brown one, you’ve got the belt to go with it. You probably won’t, but you could if you wanted to.

    Middle names also offer a convenient outlet for familial obligation, in that your parents can name you after some family member, yet not saddle you with a lifetime of being called Cornelius or Myrtle. They can give you the cool, number-one-draft-pick of names as your first name and quietly slip the tribute to your great-uncle somewhere in the middle. As someone who could have ended up being named Gertrude, I’m quite grateful for the existence of middle names.

    • Makya McBee says:

      Kestrel – That’s the great thing about America, you can move any of your names anywhere you like…I’m shipping my middle name to Topeka.

      Nymph – Thanks, consider to your heart’s content.

      Hollywood Reaper – You agree with me completely? Congratulations, this is the comment of the month.

      Heather – True, I never did mention my middle name…the intrigue of not telling is more interesting than the reveal would be. And I’d love to meet this guy you’re talking about.

      Lokyra – “Where would famous killers be without middle names” – yes, I think you make my point for me. Granted, you have a way with words, which means that you can romanticize anythying, but I’m sticking to my guns. Come on, “secrets to cherish?” That’s a little melodramatic. There more like vestigial tails – sure, you can say, “Hey, look at this cute thing I’ve got.” But most people won’t want to know about it.

      #4 – I don’t know, I’ve never needed to use someone’s middle name to distinguish them from all of the other people I know with that same name….you must know a lot of people and/or be bad with faces. And I would only be a candy coated chocolate were my middle name “&”, and it is not. If, however, you’re middle name is good for a laugh, I’d keep it. They do say that middle names are the best medicine.

      Angelina – Whatever floats your boat…whenever I want to feel distinguished I grab my cane and top hat.

      Stephanie – I guess the belt metaphor works, but what’s to stop one from wearing suspenders (by which I mean, you can always pick a nickname or choose to be called anything that makes you happy). And I definitely think we need to end the family obligation thingy – there’s no way to get rid of a name like Myrtle, unless we stop sticking it in their as a middle name. It’s time to let some names go.

      • heathersnyder1 says:

        There are ways of finding out your middle name. I will bet you that I can find it out. For now I will just have to call you Makya A-Team McBee.

      • Lokyra Stone says:

        I love melodrama when I am the one doling it out. And thank you for the lovely compliment.
        Also, telling a person your middle name is often a sign of trust.

        The vestigial tail thing provides some fabulous conversational imagery. I think I will have to name a character Bob Vestigial Tail Smith. The only thing interesting about him are his middle names.

      • Isn’t the cardinal rule of nicknames was that they’re not legit unless someone else picks it for you? Ergo, it’s just not cool to decide one day that you want everyone to start calling you Balthazar, Moonbeam or Pickles.

        Suspenders rock, but so do middle names.

      • Makya McBee says:

        Authors, celebrities and magicians choose their own nicknames – why can’t we?

  9. heathersnyder1 says:

    And, I’m pretty sure you should know that guy I’m talking about!
    Oh, and your middle name is possibly Kneecaps…Makya Kneecaps McBee.

  10. Laura4NYC says:

    I like my middle name! It translates into crown and emphasizes my first name (the head covered with bay laurels) just fine! You’re just jealous because your parents never came up with some glorious name ideas for you, Makya (any meaning to this??)!

    • Makya McBee says:

      It’s a hard argument to make that my parents “never came up with some glorious name ideas” given that my name is Makya. I’m not saying it’s a glorious name, but it’s certainly original and I’ve received many a compliment aimed at it…but could I be jealous of people with great middle names? Sure. I still think that most people never use them but I’m glad that you’re able to enjoy yours. By the way, I NEVER would have guessed that the most opposition I’d get to one of my posts would be the outraged public defending the importance of middle names. I suppose I’ll have to admit that I must be out of touch on this one.

  11. Outlier Babe says:

    Golly. Have been assuming your first name was not your birth certificate name but one assigned during early childhood during sibling warfare: “Make me!” “Oh, I’ll make ya’, all right!” (just before your dad or mom lifted you by your britches and demonstrated otherwise…). Kidding about being the bully-kid, but did think it was some inside-story family-made-it-up-later name, or a pseudonym picked for blogging use. Shouldn’t assume nothin’ (don’t even know how you pronounce it–maybe another post says). It is one cool first name, and unique, and that may be why you don’t see why a middle name is needed. Some with more common first names may enjoy the added oomph. Me, I think changing the surname is what counts. I’ve decided to go with Carnegie in hopes that people will start tossing money at me.

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