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December 16, 2003 » 10:28 am

Why I Have Three Names

One thing that the articles cited in my two previous entries is that they both mispelled or misarranged my name. This is actually a relatively common phenomenon.    (K9)

For the first dozen years of my life, I went by my middle name, “Eric.” Using one’s middle name is also a relatively common phenomenon. What’s more unusual is that, upon changing schools in the seventh grade, I decided to go back to my first name, “Eugene.”    (KA)

It’s been long enough now that most people know me as, “Eugene.” Notable exceptions include my family, all of whom still call me, “Eric,” and the few people who remember me from way back when. I think my brother-in-law, Isaac, is still thoroughly confused as to what to call me, although he seems to be settling on “Eric.”    (KB)

In my bylines, I use my full name, Eugene Eric Kim. This is partially an acknowledgement of my dual identity, and also a feeble attempt at uniqueness in a world with way too many Eugene Kims.    (KC)

A surprising number of people get confused by the three names and call me “Eric,” even though I introduce myself and sign my e-mails as “Eugene.” This phenomenon has always fascinated me. Do I seem more like an “Eric” than a “Eugene” to some people, or do some people naturally gravitate to the shorter name?    (KD)

These folks often apologize to me when they catch themselves doing this. No need to apologize. I don’t mind at all. You do it at your own risk, however, because on the occasions that you need to refer to me in the third person, your brain will have to context-switch. Freshman year in college, my roommate — who was not yet up to speed on my name situation — complained, “Some nut keeps calling us asking for Eric, and I keep telling her she has the wrong number.” That nut, of course, was my mother.    (KE)

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4 Responses to “Why I Have Three Names”

  1. Sorry Eric, Eugene errrm… not Erik anyway – fonetic slip I guess.

  2. Hello, fellow EEK. Our parents cursed us from birth 😛
    just thought to say hello to the person who shares my initials.

  3. Hey my parents called my Rusty for the first 15 years of my life. To make matters worse I lived in the rust belt.

    Robert Gudino

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