End of May 20 Column (No. 930)
Stylebook Anger

Middle Names 1/Scary

The things that scare us change as we age. I doubt any adult in a relationship felt their heart leap with joy when their partner said, “We need to talk.”

As a boy, the words were “Paul Eugene Schindler, Jr.” My mother never called me that way to give me an ice cream cone. I find myself doing the same thing with my grandson. Apparently formality implies brewing trouble.

Never happened to my wife, who has no middle name. In 1946, at her societal level, the assumption was your maiden name would become your middle name when you were married. Hah! There are some systems that are frustrated by her NMI (no middle initial), but such systems can sit on it and twirl.

It wasn’t only well-off Angeleno women who were deprived of middle names. A half-century earlier my grandfather was simply Paul Schindler. To distinguish him on family trees, he is Paul NMI Schindler.

I am not the first to note that assassins appear to all have middle names. It is never Lee Oswald or John Booth. John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald are inviolate. I defy you to find a reference to Lee Oswald or John Booth; if you made such a reference, no one would know who you were talking about.

Part 2 next week: Politicians


Robert E. Malchman

Charles Guiteau and Leon Czolgosz beg to differ.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)