I came that way. D0K.


JB: Full name please?
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: Full name please.
DK: David Kanigan. David K-A-N-I-G-A-N.
JB: That’s your full name?
DK: Yes.

(Yes. Oh, yes. I know what’s coming next. This scene, played out, over and over. Hundreds of times. Blood pressure clickety clacking up.)

JB: Middle name please.
DK: None.
JB: None?
DK: None.

(She lifts her head to look at the Alien. And pauses, wondering whether to push forward. Then, courageously plows ahead.)

JB: You mean you weren’t given one at birth? Or you changed your name?

(I look down. Two arms. Two legs. Flip flops reveal 10 toes. How many years do I have to take this sh*t?!)

(I look up. Smile. Which way do I take this? High Road. Or Low Road. I count. One. Two. Three.)

DK: I came that way.

JB: Sir, this isn’t funny. I need your proper name on these insurance forms.

(I place both hands on the counter. I lean over to whisper.)

DK: I. Came. This. Way.

(She leans back and away. Man with no name is hostile. Perhaps unstable.)

JB: Sir, can I see 2 forms of I.D., including your Driver’s License?

DK: My pleasure.

(I pull out my Driver’s License, Social Security Card, 3 credit cards and my AAA Card in case I need to get towed from here. I snap each one, heel-to-toe, on the marble counter top, the crack echoing in the reception office. Snnappppp. Crrrrrack. Crrrrack.  Crrrrrrrack. Snappppp. And then Pause, to put a wee bit of extra relish on the 6th. Craaaaaaaaaaaack. There they are. Lying end to end. A convoy.)

(I watch her examine each one. DK.DK.DK.DK.DK.DK.)

JB: Sir, I just asked for 2!

(I put my cards back in my wallet. Bond. James Bond. 007. And DK. No D0K.)

Photograph: YourEyesBlazeOut



  1. michael zahaby says:

    I feel your pain. NYS DMV had me produce my birth cert and my naturalization cert


  2. What a ninny! Lots of people have no middle names. OMG! You are to be commended for your patience.


  3. i completely understand this, as my first name is beth, (i came like that and of course there is a story), and people fight with me all the time insisting it is short for elizabeth or bethany. no, it is not. it is fascinating how people will try to correct you and teach you about your own name, isn’t it ?)


  4. Enjoyed this. At your expense. 🙂


  5. thanks, non-phonetic moira.


  6. Love the laying out of the id card deck. Very elegant way to give her feedback.


  7. My dad is the same… No middle name. I always thought that was pretty cool. He’s got one of those names like Sam Samuels (not his real name but you get the idea) so I guess I assumed that his mother thought that was enough!! And I so often get, “is Bonnie short for something?” I am impressed with your patience!!


  8. So funny the things people fixate on (insurance lady, not you). I know a number of people without a middle name, including my mother..Audriana. (And funnily enough, people are always trying to *shorten* her name…”Assuming you go by Audrey?….” Boy, does THAT p$&! her off… Especially love the AAA card–“in case you needed to be towed out…” Ha! 🙂


  9. Funny


  10. Way to hang in there and prove the point. Whomever was in that job deserves it! 🙂


  11. I”m surprised she didn’t ask if you were a Sr. or a Jr….


  12. David:

    Enjoyed this one immensely, since I thrive on other’s pain …

    It strikes me that a nifty little lesson in employee training, empowerment, and customer service exists here in your story:) … of course, those who most need to learn that lesson won’t get it.



    • BTW, you may be interested to learn that I now have Lady Gaga’s “I Was Born That Way” buzzing in my ear, probably for the rest of the morning now. Thanks …


    • Smiling. Thank you John. (btw, I too thrive on other’s pain! :)) Yes, some client sensitivity training would have been in order. As to Lady Gaga, I don’t follow her and have never heard the song, and I need to check it out. 132,000,000 views. WOW. Thanks for pointing me too it. Me and Lady Gaga – would have never imagined such brotherhood 🙂


  13. My dad came with no middle name. He was an alien too 🙂


  14. My husband came with no middle name too.


  15. Lol, I can relate to this name issue, not with my own name, but my mother’s.

    I’m seven, and in my 2nd grade classroom. Mrs. Johnston needs to know our mother’s maiden name for some reason. My mother’s maiden name just happens to include my father’s last name. It’s a crazy situation, because although my parents are distantly related, it’s through the names Baker and Smith, not Rogers, which is my mother’s legal maiden name through adoption, and my dad’s name through birth.

    I’m seven, and I grasp this fact firmly, quite proud that I can explain it all in detail. Mrs. Johnston insists however, that I don’t understand what a maiden name is.

    An argument ensues. Ultimately, I let her win, she’s bigger than me, but she never forgets this horrible moment between us and twice that year, the only time in my scholastic history, I am sent to the principal’s office for trivial misdemeanors as payback.

    Hey, but if I’d had a driver’s license at age 7, I at least could’ve won the argument. 🙂


  16. They walk amongst us!


  17. That was funny but don’t feel sorry for you. On a weekly basis I go through this.
    First name Lorne. Loren? No. Lauren? No. Lauryn? No. Mark? Mark…WTF! And the other day…Thor! Really? How our parents allowed you and my other awesome brother to name me I will never understand!!


  18. It’s SO interesting to watch people when they get shaken out of their box. They SOOOO want to jump back in.


  19. This completely hits home for me, David. My “real” name, on my birth certificate, is Carol Ann; it’s one, double name (my mother had a thing for southern-sounding names) and I have no middle name. Not only have I had to explain that Ann is NOT my middle name throughout my life and to this day, I have also had to change the way I spell my name to Carolann (clearly not as pretty) because people just assume I go by the name Carol (no, my name is not Carol, it is Carolann; Carol Ann, actually). It doesn’t always work and some people who meet me as Carolann tell me “it’s nice to meet you, Carol”. Why people assume it’s ok to truncate my name (or anyone’s) is beyond me. I always ask people what they like to be called before I assume someone named David is OK with being called Dave. But, as you can see, I’m not sensitive about it at all 🙂


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