Have you ever asked yourself – do I really need my middle name? Would your life be impacted significantly – or even infinitesimally without your middle name? Would this affect the price of rice, or would it just save the ink in your pen when you are scribbling your signature hurriedly as you sign the credit card slip after you buy groceries on your way to pick up the kids from school?
“Good Morning Jerry! Hi Susan!”
On a regular basis, you can go through an entire day without once mentioning your middle name or even thinking twice about it. When you wave across at your neighbor or see your friend walking down the street, the first word that slips off your tongue is his first name. Never once have you even considered his middle name. Why? Do you even know his middle name?
Consider this little experiment. Think of five people that you meet every day of your life. If you can recall more than two of these people’s middle name, then consider yourself extremely lucky. If this little test hasn’t proven to you the useless of middle names, then please continue reading.
Middle names are largely a formality and have fallen into general disuse. Reserved for forms in official capacities, and initialized when used at all, middle names are largely a nuisance and causes confusion.
When trying to group persons according to two names plus a surname, there is a great complexity. In many classes, I have personally experienced many students complaining of misspelt names or a swapping of the first and middle names. Would this situation have been attenuated had the administrative personnel had to handle a smaller pool of names? The situation would suggest this, as a smaller list would require less work and less complexity.
What about those who argue that a middle name offers some sense of uniqueness or ability to set apart individuals even on the small basis as differentiating between two similarly-named students? This argument has little relevance as it is of little significance in either case. Many students have only one given name, have their middles names abbreviated to an initial or even if the argument can be expanded to include the point that if we were doing this for the sole purpose of differentiation, why limit it to middle names, why not start naming our children Edward4650, because the name Edward is already taken?
Next time you meet someone, ask him his middle name. If he don’t have one, ask him how horrible his life has been without those useless letters between the first and last names, only seen when you pull out your ID card.
Start increasing the proficiency of the world – don’t give your next child a middle name.