The Initials

When LL Cool J meets someone for the first time, I wonder if he extends his hand and introduces himself as “LL”? He could be mistaken for anyone with those initials, and may even be confused for the catalogue company that sells clothing and recreational equipment (LL Bean). He might be asked for a Comfort Fleece Hooded Jacket in Peony Purple, size medium. Then who would be embarrassed?

It is nice to be specific, and let people know you are that Michael Fox. No, not Michael T. Fox or Michael H. Fox (both wonderful people I’m sure), Michael J. Fox. You know, the one who starred in the Back to the Future Trilogy, Teen Wolf, and an episode of the Love Boat in 1983. I can see why you would be confused however, as his real middle name is Andrew, and the “J” is purely for show.

Celebrities feel the need to differentiate themselves from other people with similar names. Take Samuel L. Jackson for instance. He wanted to build his career in the entertainment industry, but he kept being confused for the 19th century British architect of the same name. Talk about frustrating! He added an “L” to the middle of his name, and look where he is now… Los Angeles, California I’m told.

In the case of former President George W. Bush, he added the initial “W” because he was annoyed that people kept confusing him with his father, George H. W. Bush. They were different people, with different goals and aspirations. As a young boy, George W. Bush always knew he was “different”, but that has nothing to do with his middle initial.

I suppose that some people feel the need to add initials, or letters to the front of their names to make them feel superior. For some reason “D” and “R” are popular choices for people who work in the medical profession, and “M” and “D” for young doctors who have their own television programs, and who are named Doogie Howser.

King Henry was the king of England, and yet he still felt the need to add an initial to distinguish himself from other kings of England. He added the letter “V” to his name after leading the British Army to victory in the Battle of Agincourt, so perhaps the “V” stands for victory.

When someone adds an initial or letter to their name, whether it be at the beginning, middle or end, they are attempting to add esteem, along with that extra syllable. They might say that they are adding letters to avoid confusion, but they are really looking for the kind of respect that you don’t get when your name is just two words put together.

-Kimberly Manky

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