We are only given one birth name in life.
Yes, you can change it legally, or even go by a nickname. But in all likelihood, you will grow up and live out your life being called the name that was bestowed upon you by your parents.
Hate it or love it, it’s still your name. It’s the identifier that makes you you.
There are occasional times in history when a name can become a major inconvenience. The movie “Office Space” hilariously played off this when they coined one of their characters Michael Bolton.
Indeed, I thought my name was rare and therefore devoid of ever being tainted, but two years ago, some dude in Florida with my exact first and last name went ahead and murdered somebody with a sledgehammer.
The linked article contains a video report. Trust me, it’s a bizarre feeling to hear your name uttered by a newscaster in the same sentence as “murder” and “sledgehammer.”
On the bright side, this crime didn’t draw much attention outside of Florida, and I now know how low I can sink in life before I become the worst human being that bears my name. It’s oddly comforting.
But there are some people who will not have that luxury for the remainder of their life. Take one, Isis Anchalee, a software engineer from San Francisco. Her name unfortunately matches the acronym for the terrorist organization aiming to create an Islamic caliphate by means of terror and fear.
For a while, ISIS — the organization — was a distant, faraway threat in the minds of many. They behead people, and that’s awful, but they’re separated from America by an ocean and until recently did not seem to have the financial means to plan a long range attack.
But after their disgusting actions in Paris last Friday, and their threat in a recently released video of an attack on New York, the mere mention of the terrorist group has suddenly taken on a new level of evil.
And it appears that Ms. Anchalee has beared the consequences of that. She complained on Twitter on Monday afternoon about her Facebook account being disabled, which prompted a response from a Facebook engineer a day later.
I’m sure the problem has been remedied, but the real dilemma remains. Her name is Isis. For the rest of her life, people she introduces herself to will do a double take, or will think she is making an insensitive joke.
It’s also worth noting that the top comment of her Tweet is from a girl named Isil Arican, who shares the problem to a slightly smaller extent since ISIS is also known as ISIL, short for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Maybe the two of them can find a dude named Adolf and start a club.
So next time you feel compelled to complain about your name … don’t. Because it can always be worse.
And France, the United States and Russia, how about you go ahead and hurry up with that joint coalition to exterminate ISIS soon so poor Ms. Isis Anchalee can go ahead and live the rest of her life without too much difficulty?
How about a motivational hash tag to get it going?
Something tells me that will never become a trending topic.