Sometimes, the Middle Comes First.

I am relatively new to the blogging world (at least as far as running my OWN blog). It gives me a great deal of joy to do my writing and share my work with others. I am especially flattered and honored when people read my work for the first time and find it humorous and worth the time it took to read. I have provided SOME information about myself in my blog profile as well as in other social networking sites such as MySpace, FaceBook, and my new blog space: BDGJM. However, I feel led for a variety of reasons to provide a more specific tidbit of information about myself.

I was born Patrick Shane McAfee in Macon, Georgia on February 12, 1966. I was given this name by two of the finest Southern parents to ever draw breath. Now, I am providing this information in order that I may vent a bit on an issue. My father was born Lawrence Hugh McAfee in Johnson County, GA. These days my father is addressed by a variety of names: my mother and her side of the family always called him Hugh. This was his preferred form of address. After joining the United States Air Force in the late 1950’s he got used to being addressed by his first name: Lawrence. My father still introduces himself as Lawrence even to this present day. Furthermore, my Dad was a runty child. Therefore, his siblings (and their spouses) all call him “Pee Wee”. This is comically ironic given that he is now more than 6 feet tall. In addition, he has also been addressed as “Poppy” since 1984 when my niece Tiffany (the eldest of his grandchildren) was born. If you address my Dad by any of these names he will respond with a kind smile and a listening ear.

There is a reason, however, my Dad preferred to be addressed as Hugh when he was a kid: he detests nicknames. Because of this, if you address either my Dad or my brother as “Larry”, they will both politely direct you to my brother in-law (who PREFERS to be addressed as Larry). Therefore, my sister, Marlene and I have always been addressed by our middle names. The ONLY time either one of our parents called us by our first name was the day we were born. This had led to a lifetime of correcting people such as teachers, employers, and occasionally, bill collectors. Actually, if you call my house and ask for Patrick, you are ASSUMED to be a bill collector.

In 1984, when I joined the United States Navy, I took meticulous steps to be sure all my paperwork referred to me as P Shane McAfee. After all, I had been signing my name that way for several years at that point. This was a practice I used for a long time even after my discharge from the Navy. For years, the only documents (after 1984) that bore my full first name were my kids’ birth certificates and my marriage license. Even my New York State driver’s license read: P Shane McAfee. Many people would ask me what the P stood for and I would refuse to tell them (I’d like to think I have matured since then). Then, a chain of events transpired that caused the naming issue to stick in my craw more than ever.

I spent 8 months living in Georgia in 2007. When I got my Georgia driver’s license, the Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles pulled up my old record from 1986. In short, my new Georgia Driver’s license read Patrick Shane McAfee. When I relocated back to Rochester, New York, my driver’s license was my primary legal identifying document. Therefore, all my new employment records, insurance records, etc. bore that same full name. This has caused some confusion. For example, I work with a colleague who prefers to be addressed as Patrick (actually Pat). Many at our job have contacted him thinking they were contacting me and vice versa. Also, many have had trouble finding me in the company’s address book because they are looking for Shane and not Patrick (to prevent further confusion, I was referring to myself not my colleague).

I would like to now take the time to address some questions that have people have actually asked me over the years. I, P Shane McAfee, present Middle Name FAQ’s:

1.       What KIND of a name is Shane? Shane is an Irish form of the Biblical name John. John means “God is gracious”.  As much as I wish to tell people that my parents looked at me and their first thought was “God is gracious”. Most likely, they looked at me and said “Goodness gracious”. Actually, my Dad STILL does that.

2.       How did you parents come up with that name? My parents named me Shane after a western movie character. Shane is a 1953 classic western with Alan Ladd in the title role and based on a 1949 book by Jack Schaefer.

3.       Is it a Southern trait to address one by their middle name? No, that is not necessarily true. My Dad addressed my sister and myself that way because he dislikes nicknames. My Dad liked to hear me addressed as “Pat” even less than I do (with all due respect to my colleague).

4.       Can you please provide your FULL name (this came up frequently after 1984)? P Shane McAfee IS my full name. Obviously, since the license debacle of 2007, this is a tougher one to argue.

5.       If Shane is your middle name, what is your REAL name? My parents placed my middle name on my birth certificate. Therefore, it is legally as real as my first name.

6.       Why don’t you just legally change your name or just have yourself addressed by your first name? That one is simple. I do not wish to do so. I am sorry if my preferred form of address does not meet your approval. However, there are few things in this world where I can exercise my own prerogative and expect the rest of the world to just “deal with it”. Let me just say that, as a man who is American by birth and Southern by the grace of God, my name IS one of those things.

In closing, I’d like to list the names of some famous people who are addressed by their middle name. Please, feel free to research and verify. The following famous people are “middle namers”: Marie Osmond, Sean Connery, Clark Gable, Lou Gehrig, Steve McQueen, Paul McCartney, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, and Garth Brooks . I’d say I am standing in some pretty tall cotton given that list. Thank you for indulging my cathartic blog. You can call me “touchy”. You can call me a smart-aleck. But, if you expect me to turn around, call me Shane.

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6 thoughts on “Sometimes, the Middle Comes First.

  1. Great story! I especially like the way you closed it. I know several people who go by their middle name rather than their first name. Interestingly enough, all but one of them are Canadian.I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my own food/cooking blog for some time now. Actually, I had pretty much decided against it for a while because there are so many of them on the internet, but reading your blog has made me start thinking about it again. So thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Shane, I am trying to do this the second time,Naturally i screwed the first one up couldn't send it. However I think the writting is very good as well as the other I reed. You took that after your mother of course. I told Marlene the other day when I reed the other you should do some professional wrighting. Also you may keep some hard copies of these until next year when you are so old you can't remember where you left your faulse teeth. No kidding they are good. You need to do this for some extra money."WE" may need it. I think your sister is going to put poor old me in SHADY OAKS RESTHOME. But what can you expect from someone whose mother died six month before he was born. later. POP

  3. Thanks, Poppy. I am glad you liked it. You needn't worry. I have copies in several places. Also, I definitely feel Momma flowing through my writing from time to time. I couldn't deny her influence if I wanted to.There is some possibility of some of this making its way into a book. We'll see how things develop over that time.Shane

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