My last name is “Reynen.” Chances are good that you just pronounced that incorrectly in your head as you read it. Chances are also good that if I spoke it aloud to you, you’d spell it wrong. And then you’d probably pronounce it wrong still. It’s a horrible name for someone like me who is interested in efficient communication. So I’ve thought a lot about changing it.

When I was younger (is 26 old enough to say that?), I thought about changing the whole thing: first, middle, and last name. My ideas for new names were awful. “Justin Case” is one I remember. I’m sure glad I didn’t follow through on that idea. I would have had to pull a Prince and try to undo the damage.

Later, I thought about just replacing my last namewith my middle name. “Scott Michael” sounds okay. But for a long time, I didn’t know how to spell “Michael,” so I worried that wouldn’t actually solve the spelling problem. (Turns out most people could spell my middle name better than I could.) Plus, it makes me think of George Michael, and I’m not really a fan.

After that, I didn’t seriously consider changing my name until I got married. Unfortunately, my wife’s last name is “Montgomerie,” which is not exactly a step up on the ease-of-spelling scale. So I kept my last name, and she kept hers, which leads to the question of what last name we might give to potential children. All I know is, it certainly will not be “Montgomerie-Reynen.” I wouldn’t inflict that kind of pain on my worst enemy, much less a child. So maybe a completely new last name would be good. Any proposals?