What’s in a name?

Topher jumping

My name is Christopher Thomas Polack. It’s a bit of a mouthful if you say the whole thing.

I introduce myself as ‘Christopher’. Most people immediate shorten it to ‘Chris’. There are too many Chrises in the world. I worked at one place where I was one of 9 Chrises. So I opted to be called ‘Topher’. This confuses some people. “What’s a Topher?” Is the question I get the most. It’s handy being called Topher especially when there’s other Chrises about.

If I had my choice, I prefer Christopher. Runner up: Topher.

Now on to my last name: Polack. My family is from Poland and probably got the Eliis Island treatment and most Polish last names use different letters, have lots of consonants, so at the Ellis Island check-in, people would give you a simple name like ‘Polack’. Actually, it was ‘Polak’. My dad added the ‘c’ to, in his worlds, “Would match what’s in the joke books”. So, yup, my last name is an ethnic slur. I remember being called “Hey Polack!” in school.

Names are pretty important. It’s how our parents define us when were born and we carry them all our lives. I’ve modified my mine. So, when you see me on the street, what will you call me?

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