In Honor of Middle Names

Today we are celebrating a relatively neglected but very auspicious holiday: Middle Name Pride Day. That’s right, March 10, this greatest day of the month revels in the manifold awesomnesses of that guy in the middle. Whether your middle name is Brenda or Sue or Zeke or Gollum, exult in it on this day of days. Embrace your inner self. We have. A few of us spent literally hours just thinking about our middle names. It was really hard, but we did it. Here are the results of our contemplation. In the comments below, we’d love to hear you wax eloquent about your own third man or woman.

  • My full name is Phillip Scott Lytle. When I was a kid, I was not overly fond of my first name. I thought it sounded nerdy. You don’t ever see any cool Phillips in movies or books. Plus, every time someone read the name Philip out loud, from the book of Acts, all the kids in school would look at me and smirk as if I had something to do with that Philip found in the Holy Word of God. Spoiler alert: I didn’t and it really got on my nerves. So, I decided to ask my friends to start calling me by my middle name – Scott. Scott just sounded cooler than Phillip. It’s one syllable. It’s easy to spell. It has everything going for it. My friends complied and I became Scott from that day forward. One problem: every time they would call out “Scott” I wouldn’t answer since it wasn’t my name. They would say “Scott” over and over and finally use my real name and I would answer. It was short-lived and completely unsuccessful. I have been Phillip ever since. And I’m okay with that. But don’t you dare spell my name with only one “L” like those other Philips out there.
  • Ben Lloyd Plunkett– My middle name was given to me in honor of my dad (and by my dad), the inimitable Lloyd George Plunkett. He, in turn, was named after David Lloyd George who was the British prime minister during World War I. My unofficial second middle name is George. I think. At least my dad has called me Benjamin Lloyd George a lot, sometime German Lloyd. But mostly it’s just Benjamin Lloyd Plunkett. And that’s cool with me. Although the meaning of the name leaves a lot to be desired (Gray Haired One), I have always liked being a Lloyd. And the older I get, the more it gives me a retro kind of feeling. Although I love the name Benjamin (I think everyone should be named Benjamin in the future), I am absolutely fine with people calling me Lloyd or George or Benjamin Lloyd or Superman. Yeah, with Lloyd I am in good company with the likes of Lloyd Christmas, Lloyd Bridges, and Lloyd Braun. All in all, I’m proud of my middle name and on this Middle Name Pride Day, I shall proclaim this land in the name of all Lloydom.
  • Henry Gowdy Cannon – “Is Gowdy your real name?” “Yes. It’s on my birth certificate: Henry Gowdy Cannon.”  “So…Henry is your real name.” “No, I go by my middle name.” Your middle name being your go by name creates confusion by itself. When that name is one that no one else has as a given name, it gets to be even more fun! “Gowdy” is truly, truly what my parents decided to call me. Why? “Because we had a feeling you’d be different.” Man, was that right. My wife will get a crown in Heaven for dealing with my daily weirdness. My first year in a small college a guy on campus gave all the new students funny nicknames. But not me. I asked him why. He said, ‘Your name is already weird enough.” In spite of this, I have been called, at various points in my life: Gout, Gordy, Grody, Gonzo, Gandhi, Coyote and Acorn head (don’t ask). I actually really do relate completely to Gonzo the Muppet and my favorite episode of Muppet Babies is when he tries to figure out what he is, as Kermit is a frog and Fozzie is a bear, etc. He discovers at the end of his journey, “You’re a Gonzo.” And at the end of the day, my middle name is all I need to explain who I am. “I’m a Gowdy.”  I wouldn’t want to be anyone else.
  • Mark Randall Sass – I firmly believe that my parents set me on the path to higher education the day they signed my birth certificate. I say this because my middle name has a whopping 7 letters and 2 syllables!  When you’re in kindergarten and learning to spell your full name then Randall can be quite the challenge. But I was up to this monumental task! I recall looking at my peers and noting their middle names:  Dan, Jim, Bob, and the like. Clearly they lacked the ambition for learning which my parents fostered in me from day one.  I pitied them with their three-letter middle names. Without proper middle name inspiration they were not destined for greatness. By comparison my mastery of the alphabet and the English language was well under way at an early age. I’ve been proud of my middle name ever since.
  • Nathan Jedidiah Patton – I was named after King Solomon. Well, maybe not really, but God did send the prophet Nathan (my first Name) to give Solomon the name Jedidiah. That’s right, both of my names can be found together in one verse of the Bible, II Samuel 12:25. My wife calls me Jed, and my parents call me Nathan Jed, the result being I answer much more quickly to Jed than anything else. I even went by Jed at one of my jobs where there was another Nathan on my team. These days, the name Jed has a connotation of being a hillbilly, which I’m not, but I no longer mind people thinking that if they want.

Ben Plunkett

Greetings from the booming metropolis that is Pleasant View, Tennessee. I am a man of constant spiritual highs and spiritual lows. I pray that I serve God at my highest even when I am lowest. Ben was a founding member of Rambling Ever On and a regular contributor and editor until his untimely death in April 2020. We wrote a tribute to him, but the best tribute you can give him would be to read all the wonderful poems, short stories, book reviews, theological essays, and ridiculous satire pieces he wrote for us. Pass them on to others and maybe allow Ben to inspire you to write something yourself.

4 thoughts on “In Honor of Middle Names

  • March 10, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I recently learned that Gowdy’s first name is Henry. My response was, “Why would he go by such a weird middle name when he has a perfectly normal first name?”

    Thanks to this informative article, my curiosity has been satisfied.

    • March 11, 2017 at 8:37 am

      I frequently call him “Henry Gowdy”.

      And in 2007 he won the Youth Pastor of the Year award. I was there, and when so heard them announce his name, I thought…”Who names their kid Gowdy?!” TOTALLY get it now.

    • March 14, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Every time I type Gowdy I get a red line underneath telling me I misspelled a word. I blame Gowdy for this inconvenience.

      • March 14, 2017 at 11:06 am

        I have had to add to the “personal dictionary” (or whatever it’s called) to about a million computers! And it is annoying.


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