Credit: Peter Hoare
I remember the family dinner conversation vividly. It was a school night. I was in the fifth grade. We were eating meatloaf, which I loathed. (That's not a reflection of my mother's cooking, but of my natural hatred for any food containing the word "loaf." I'm looking at you, olive loaf.) While I reluctantly shoveled bits of loaf into my stupid little face, my father done went and dropped a bomb on me: He explained the definition of the word "whore."
My entire world immediately turned upside down. I had yet to suffer any schoolyard persecution, but what would happen when the rest of the kids discovered that word? Once "whore" entered my friends' everyday insult lexicon, I was surely screwed.
"Your mom is a Hoare!"
"If your grandma fell down in the mud, she'd be a dirty Hoare!"
"You should name your daughter Anita!"
Why? Why had God forsaken me with such a mock-worthy surname?
Each year, the first day of school simply sucked. The new teacher, taking attendance, would pronounce it "Hoar-ey." ("Peter…uhhh…HoarE?") I had to say the correct, embarrassing pronunciation aloud in front of the entire class. Aaaand cue the laughs.
I know I'm not alone. Anyone with the last name of Cox, Wackett, Weiner or Lipschitz surely feels my pain. Brothers bound by mockery. I'm sure they had comparable experiences. At the same time, I'm sure their crappy names, in some weird roundabout kind of way, helped make them who they are today. I know mine did. It helped build character.
It sounds insane, but I wouldn't change being Peter Hoare for anything in the world. And I genuinely hope that the John Woodcocks, Richard Kuntzes and Lisa Wangs of the world feel the same. Own that last name, damnit! Have some pride, Harry Bush!
That being said, if I ever have kids, they'll be getting their mom's last name. (Whomever she may wind up being.) What if I wind up with a gaggle of daughters? There's simply no reason to make them Hoares. When they reach that pivotal, loathsome, fifth-grade meatloaf dinner, and they realize what their name could have been, hell, I'll be dad of the year.
Unless I marry Jennifer Dickhead. In that case, my hands are tied.