Do I Have a Middle Name?
- Just Joe
Joe, your question is a deep and mysterious one. The Jr. after your name implies that you are your father's exact namesake, and he had a middle name. Thus you must have a middle name. Yet your birth certificate bears no middle name, so you must not have a middle name. It's a veritable koan, the baby-naming equivalent of "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"
Do you have a middle name? I've meditated at length on this naming paradox, and I have made peace with an answer. The answer is:
Sorry about that. In the faceoff between Junior rules, which are a matter of tradition, and birth certificates, which are a matter of law, the legal papers win. You have no middle name.
That said, it does feel like a cheat. As a Junior, you're entitled to your father's whole name. Middle names can be especially important to Juniors, as a source of nicknames to distinguish them from Seniors. If you're feeling the lack, you're in a unique position to apply for a legal name change with few practical hassles. That would also set you up to pass on your full, complete family name to a Joe Smith III.