What’s In A (Middle) Name?

My efforts to slowly, quietly, yet somewhat methodically drop my middle name have just come to a screeching halt. In fact, now I may have to go to the DC DMV (gulp) to see if I can get my middle initial added back to my driver’s license. Good thing the DC government’s coming to the rescue by requiring all DC drivers license holders get new “real” IDs

To qualify for Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check or any of the so-called trusted traveler programs, you have to use your legal name, as in the name on your passport or official government issued ID. But what happens when that name doesn’t match the one on other forms of identification? Or the name on your ticket?

You guessed it, the system gets gummed up.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with my middle name, it’s just that like Harry S. Truman, my middle initial doesn’t stand for anything. According to Wiki, a common practice among the Scots-Irish … and apparently my family. In my case, the letter is the both full name and initial. So for my college diploma, I circled the space after my middle initial and wrote in “no period.”

However, for credit cards, business cards and indeed my driver’s license, I’ve moved away from using the middle name/initial. Other friends with similar dilemmas (such as they are), made their maiden names their middle names after they got married. Since I never changed my name, I just started dropping the initial.

Until now.

The agent who conducted the background interview helpfully suggested I pay to have my middle name removed from my passport. That way, all my legal documents would match. And, after all, she had done that – not because she didn’t like her middle name, she just didn’t like what the initials spelled.

Quick: What’s an unappealing 3 letter phrase ending in “H”







What could it be?

While I liked her suggestion, I think it may be easier just to give up my quest and go back to using the middle name/initial. It’s that or travel with my passport now, so that at airport security, my ticket and government issued identification match exactly and both match my trusted traveler document. Now that’s just asking for me to lose my passport, right?


(Maybe the agent had a 4-letter name?)

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