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Wide White: Have you ever considered changing your name?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Have you ever considered changing your name?

As a big fan of NBC's Chuck, I came across a story yesterday about an Oregon man who changed his name from Douglas Allen Smith Jr. to Captain Awesome.

That's right. His new name is Captain Awesome.

Captain Awesome - aka Devon Woodcomb - is a character on Chuck. His nickname is Captain Awesome because he's a doctor, muscular, athletic - pretty much a perfect specimen in every way. His parents are equally cut to perfection and they exaggerate the part. Chuck calls them "the Awesomes."

My dad wanted a kid named Joey after seeing the TV movie Something for Joey at age 15. My mom felt I needed a more grown-up name worthy of a birth certificate. Neither liked the name Joseph, so they settled on Joel.

I often found myself having to explain why my "real" name wasn't Joseph. I even tried to switch to Joel when I was 12, though it didn't last for more than a few weeks. I hated it. It wasn't my name. In high school I decided not to make an issue out of the fact that "Joel" was printed on my name tag at a new job. It was a decision I would quickly regret as I went for 2 years with the only people in the world calling me Joel being those I worked with.

By the time I got to college I knew I wouldn't be going by Joel. I told new professors on the first day of each new semester. I used "Joey" on all of my papers. I had the name plate switched at my second job along with my computer and email settings, which I knew was probably a pain. I wasn't going to spend time at work correcting my coworkers and customers.

Almost 4 years ago my wife was at the Washington County offices in Woodbury applying for our marriage certificate. She called me at work. "You know, you could change your name now. All I have to do is write 'Joey' under the field for your new name."

I quickly mulled it over. I didn't have much time to reconsider it. My mom had told me in college that she wouldn't care if I ever changed my legal name to Joey. It's what I'd been called from birth and it was clear that it's what I was sticking with. Additionally, I had moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota only months before this and hadn't yet obtained any new official documents. I still had to get a new driver's license and car title. The only new document I'd really need due to a name change was a social security card, but my wife would be needing one too with her name change. From there it was just a matter of updating credit cards and other accounts, which I was already going to be doing as I added my wife to everything.

I decided to go ahead and make the change and I've never regretted it. I know it's only one letter, but it's funny how significant that one letter can be.

So how about you? Have you ever considered changing your name? Even if you haven't, is there another name that you've wished you had instead?

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Blogger kristi noser declared,

I think I'll change my name to Susie Snowflake. That would be cool.

12/10/2010 3:21 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Kari declared,

I never knew this...


Spaced Out
(That is my official name now. I just changed it.)

12/11/2010 6:52 PM  

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