My Middle Name

(surprised I haven’t moaned about this, fairly obvious, trait already)

In case you hadn’t noticed, my middle name is Patrick, and I have plastered this fact everywhere, from this blog to this other blog to this thing and any other projects of mine I’m subtly plugging to you in this not-at-all ham-fisted manner.

My reasoning for it is simple – that it is part of my name, and if names exist to differentiate people from each other with a single word or collection of words, rather than plunge into verbose character descriptions and perversely-detailed personal histories whenever you want to tell Keith from Ellen, surely providing you with more namey details will just make that differentiating process easier.

But there are implications coming with using extra names for things; for one, referring to yourself with a middle name, or with your initials (my writing blog does both simultaneously) is generally the pastime of pretentious and paradoxically anonymous literary critics I’m supposed to be impressed with when I read their books on Tristram Shandy, but really I just end up hating them for finding some enjoyment in that god-forsaken collection of pages and ripped-out pages.

And who exactly am I setting myself apart from by doing this? A quick Googling of ‘James Casey’ results in an American Football player, deceased ‘variety artist’, and a photographer and teacher or some shit, none of whom are in any way involved in the career path I want to get into, one of ambiguous ‘writing’ and ‘art’ and stuff.

Honestly, the most accurate reason for my triple name-using is that I’ve always done it; I used to be called ‘James Thumby Casey’ on Facebook, a reference to the fact that my profile picture was, at one hilarious point in time, my thumb, and when I ditched this name I felt like ‘James Casey’ was a bit empty. So I stuck my actual middle name in there, rather than my original idea to have a rota of equally side-splitting nicknames, because apparently Facebook only lets you change your on-screen name like twice. And then I needed a new, serious, email address, so I went with ‘James Patrick Casey’ for the sake of continuity. Then I started signing up for bank accounts, and online services like Steam and PayPal and Armor Games, all of them under my full name ‘James Patrick Casey’, and with a matching email.

Because although I’m a fan of not being a pretentious git, I’m a much bigger fan of continuity; while part of me understands and engages with the Minor Threat ‘rip it all up and start again’ mentality, and there are certainly bits of our society that would be improved with a reconstruction, rather than an acceptance of the status quo, when it comes so relatively trivial things like the words in the banner at the top of my blogs, I see no reason to start changing things up if there’s nothing to be gained from it.

And that’s probably why I’ve not mentioned my name – the most immediately obvious of my character – in about fourteen months of blogging; it’s just a name. While names are important in terms of practically differentiating us from other people, we don’t choose them a lot of the time, and are usually just random collections of letters for that purely practical purpose – if I were called Andrew Patrick Casey, would it make a difference?

I associate much more strongly as a fan of punk rock, and a player of Skyrim, and a reader of Stephen King novels, than I do a ‘James’, or a ‘Casey’, or even as someone with the middle name of ‘Patrick’. So that’s the deal with me using my middle name; it’s something that sticks out considering most people don’t use all three (or more) of their names, but this isn’t a difference that changes the ultimately meaningless nature of one’s name.

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