What’s in a name?

As some people may know, my full name per my birth certificate is “Mark Alexander Leonard”.

What? Yes, it’s true, my first name is not Alex. Yet I have gone through my entire life being called Alex. My parents wanted to call me Alex, but felt that “Mark Alexander” sounded better than “Alexander Mark”, and so it was.

Generally this is fine. Everyone calls me Alex, no one calls me Mark. However certain circumstances can become somewhat awkward as a result.

In college we had to use the first name on our birth certificate/passport. It confused me. Would my college friends call me Mark? Fuck that, they called me Alex. However in every class roll-call I would have to respond to “Mark Leonard”. Furthermore, the college inscribed my chefs knives with “Mark Leonard”. I still own those knives. They’re mine, but they don’t entirely feel like they’re mine.

Recently I’ve been told by different airlines that I should book my flights as Mark Leonard. So I now travel as Mark. That said, my credit cards are “Alex Leonard”, so I travel as Mark, but book as Alex. I have to watch out for that.

Now that I’ve moved to Northern Ireland I needed to set up a local bank account to handle money stuff. I met with Bank of Ireland and asked to set up my new account as “Alex Leonard” (per my Republic of Ireland account). Mark was never mentioned, but when my bank card arrived in the post “Mark A Leonard” was my name. A phone call later and I’m not allowed to have my bank account registered to Alex; Mark is my only option – as it is on my passport. I can not change that.

I can see that this will cause some sort of issues down the line. If nothing else it’s confusing for me to remember what situations I am Alex, and which times I am Mark.

Comments

  • John

    Hi Alex,

    They’re very very into that here in HK – I have to sign everything by my full name John Joseph Mahon or I get quizzed straight away. Chinese people here have their name eg. Choi Lai Fok, where the Choi is their actual family name, with Lai Fok their given name. So when I have John Joseph on my passport, it’s not OK to sign John Mahon, as I do everywhere else in the world; I have to open new things like account etc, leases, whatever, always as my full full name, and sign as such. Not so confusing as yours though Mark 😉
    John