May 24, 2008

what's in a name?

Ben is Dan in real life:
I practiced and practiced, to no avail. Recognizing defeat, I have considered changing my name to Dan, but then everyone would probably call me Ben.

Another option is to go by Benjamin (I can hear it now, ‘Danjamin’). Benjamin, however, sounds too stuffy. I would rather be known as Dan.

Despite the difficulties it imposes, I am at peace with my dual identity. Given the ordinariness of my name it would be narcissistic to take offense at someone thinking I am one of the 1,193,150 Dans in America, rather than one of the 330,750 Bens.
Earlier this year, in one of my senior classes, we were talking about names--how people get them wrong, what they mean, why they matter so much. I was surprised that almost nobody knew the origin or significance of their appellations, first or last. That day's internet research session was fascinating, and at times revealing. We had several kings, a few princesses, and one candle-maker.

On a related note, I wonder if Romeo would've been so willing to doff his name if Juliet had wanted to call him Herman. "A rose by any other name," bah.

[via Obscure Store]

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