8, 8 days until Disney! Ah ha ha!

Why is it so common in N. America to use the middle initial?

Well, why is it? For example I don't think I have ever, or perhaps only rarely, seen anyone from Europe sign posts as "Hugh G. One" or anything like that.
Permalink Yes Aaron I'm looking at you ;-) 
March 9th, 2005
I most commonly prefer Simon P. Lucy for attribution, authoring and so on but that's solely for euphony since the syllables in my name were not considered by my parents when I thrust it upon me. Perhaps being named for the first disciple was more important or something.

In any event, I'm not American and am European, even if English.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 9th, 2005
I used my middle initial in grade school basically to be a pretentious twit, but in the internet age there is a much better reason - namespace uniqueness: There are a lot of Dennis Forbes's on the internet, but only a few Dennis W. Forbes's.
Permalink Dennis W. Forbes 
March 9th, 2005
Why is this an issue?
Permalink muppet 
March 9th, 2005
Yes, for uniqueness. You may think the combination of your first and last names is unique, as I used to, but Google will tell you otherwise.
Permalink Kyralessa 
March 9th, 2005
Well for formal documents I use my initials to distinguish between the other two people in Britain with the same name as me. For everything else I don't bother - since one's my father and the other my son and I'm the only one "in play" - it's not really that important.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
March 9th, 2005
I read that it was originally because a lot of people had the same first + last name combinations.

As to why the problem was more accute in the US than Europe, and why it should still be the case today, I don't know, but I also wondered why it's so prevalent in the US to be given a middle name.
Permalink Fred 
March 9th, 2005
We aspire to be more like serial killers, who always have 3 names.
Permalink son of parnas 
March 9th, 2005
I just checked. The combination of my first and last name, in parentheses, produces three pages of Google hits (39) in all, each of them relating to me.

No such luck for "Flasher T" though.
Permalink Flasher T 
March 9th, 2005
When they report notorious individuals using all three names, is this because that's what the killer referred to themselves as, or are the reporters being kind to other people with common first and last names (for the same reasons discussed above)?
Permalink Dennis W. Forbes 
March 9th, 2005
I can beat that Flasher. Type *just* my surname into google.co.uk, search the UK and the first hit you get my email, my direct line at work and a photo. Search the whole of google - it's about no.3.

I'm not sure whether to be smug or a bit nervous.
Permalink a cynic writes... 
March 9th, 2005
Meh, I couldn't do that cause my last name is a word in German.
Permalink Flasher T 
March 9th, 2005
"I can beat that Flasher. Type *just* my surname into google.co.uk, search the UK and the first hit you get my email, my direct line at work and a photo. Search the whole of google - it's about no.3. "

Are you Tony Blair?
Permalink Jim Rankin 
March 9th, 2005
No...think about it - you're not going to get *his* ddi number up on the web, are you?
Permalink a cynic writes... 
March 9th, 2005
Actually, I had no middle name until I got married. My dad has no middle name, my father-in-law has no middle name, and my son has no middle name.

Why do I use mine, or at least why do I use the initial? It's part of who I am, that's all. If you saw my signature, you'd probably ask, "What the hell is that squiggly thing after your name?" Just part of my signature, that's all.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 9th, 2005
Till you got married? What happened then to give you a middle name?
Permalink Kyralessa 
March 9th, 2005
I'm pretty sure they give all of a serial killer's names to reduce the chance that people will hear the story and think that the (for example) John Gacy they know is the one who's been picked up, rather than the actual killer.
Permalink Wayne 
March 9th, 2005
I took my wife's maiden name as a middle name. Not one of those hyphenated things, but a separate name. Fletcher is a pretty good middle name, especially since I didn't have one before.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 9th, 2005
Chief Karlin: What's your name?
Fletch: Fletch.
Chief Karlin: What's your full name?
Fletch: Fletch F. Fletch.
Chief Karlin: What do you do for a living, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I'm a shepherd.
Chief Karlin: Why are you doing this, Mr. Fletch?
Fletch: I like men. I like to be manhandled. I like you.
Permalink haha 
March 9th, 2005
So you're both Fletcher Stanton now! That's pretty interesting. Is this sort of thing something people are doing now or are you the only one as far as you know?
Permalink Cultural Trends Historian 
March 9th, 2005
No clue how widespread it is. Probably not very, as most men seem to already have a middle name.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 9th, 2005
Well now that everybody got my name and number from Paris' phone, I've got to use the middle initial to be a different person. :)
Permalink ... 
March 9th, 2005
I am actually thinking of switching from Steven A. Bristol to S. Angel Bristol. How pretentious is that?

My blog:
http://stevenbristol.blogspot.com/
Permalink Steven A Bristol 
March 10th, 2005
I don't know about pretentious but it sure fucks up my job candidates database.

I nipped in to work for a couple of hours after reading the thread and found that I actually had two job applications from people who only gave the initual of their first name.

Makes about a dozen, and all of their resumes such.

My thoery is that they hide their real names so the child support bureau, anti-paedopnile squad, FBI or war crimes tribunal doesn't get hold of them.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 10th, 2005
Distinguishes you from your dad. Eg Dubya.

What baffles me is when you encounter Frambliff Z. Grinchmeyer III, presumably the middle initial if not the middle name has not changed. Is there money involved or is it a sad attempt at immortality?
Permalink trollop 
March 10th, 2005
Well, that's another thing I don't understand - naming your son the same as you.
Permalink  
March 11th, 2005
Naming your kid the same thing as yourself is a feeble attempt at immortality. It's like pretending you're a noble convincing the peasants that the same person has ruled them for over a hundred years.

I can see giving a kid the same name as a relative as a way of honoring them, but honoring yourself that way is just pretentious ego.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
March 11th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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