Recently I was having a conversation with a friend from high school, and out of the blue, she said her full name. At that point I realized that, even though I grew up with this person and had known her for more than 20 years (ok, more like 30), I never knew her middle name. Isn't that weird?
I thought it was, so much so that I took to Facebook to find out people's middle names and where they came from. This inquiry yielded an interesting and lenthy discussion, and was surprisingly rooted in family politics. Many (many!) people said that their middle name was their grandmother's name, or their middle name was someone's last name that they didn't want to lose, or (this was one of my favorites), their middle name was "just the letter E, because the grandmothers' names both started with E, but the grandmothers didn't like each other, so they settled on E so no one would be mad." All in all, I found that the middle name is generally the hiding place for obligations and fading dedications to distant relatives.
That got me thinking -- it must be hard to name a person, right? When you have a baby, you really don't know anything about them as a person, right? How can you confidently name them? How can you know if they are going to actually be like a Brooke, or a Cindy, or a Victor? I guess that's where the middle name comes in--sort of like a backup name, in case your naming choice was way off.
Except in the case of "E.". I don't think that initial is doing that person one bit of good. Who is named "E"?
This also reminds me of my "Groovy Nipples" post/ game, although I know the minute I mention her, I'm going to get three emails telling me that she died. I know she died, okay? She didn't die because I did a blog post calling attention to her name.
To summarize, I think you should start a Facebook post asking people what their middle names are and why. I am positive that at least one of the answers will surprise you. Also, I think that baby names should contain multiple words and syllables, so the kid at least has a chance to pick from them or form a name that suits them. It occurs to me that if I had multiple names like that, I'd probably have less people calling me "Culwell," which is my default go-to name because I don't strike anyone as a "Lori," even myself.