Monday, October 23, 2006


I have always kept all my names, not always in daily life, it's true, but always on legal documents and all official paperwork of every kind. The first name, which has always caused difficulty for everybody, is a name borne by generations of people on both sides of the family. Another part of the name has always been troublesome, both for reasons of pronunciation and because my mother had a different surname and in those days the schools just couldn't deal with parents and children with different last names. We're back now to having fatherless soldiers' children whose surviving parent has remarried, and households of people with differing surnames aren't unusual these days, for many reasons. When I recently suffered a unilateral name change on my voter card, I decided I'd better round up every possible form of identification. There was panic when the passports couldn't at first be found, but then they were, in a file involving the last identithon we were subjected to, when the functionaries had never seen old-style birth certificates or old-style documents of other kinds and spent a lot of unnecessary time questioning their authenticity.


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