Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Names

The nature of names is interesting. I go by ‘Al’ and identify with that name. I’ve used it, not ‘Albert’ since I was probably 13 or 14. Twenty years or more at this point. Everyone calls me ‘Al’ except for my mother’s father and sometimes my mother. Both of them used to use it but got out of the habit (or reverted) and I let it slide.

To make things more simple with handling my father’s estate, I change my bank account to have most of my full legal name, Louis Albert Billings, on it. I’m a third so my father is junior. When handling his affairs, it is easier if we are both “Louis Billings” as it reduces a paperwork loop with a lot of third parties. Because I received a new bank card, it has “Louis Albert Billings” on it as well. This means that I sign with either all three names or, as often, with my legal first name. I’ve had to do this off and on for years in certain circumstances as well because some institutions cannot manage the concept that some people go by their middle names. A lot of the items to do with my mortgage are in my full name as well so I’ve randomly gotten phone calls for it occasionally.

It has been a bit odd as I’m not used to signing that name so I don’t have a commonplace signature for it yet. Now, whenever I go out, I wind up signing things with what feels, to me, is my father’s name. A lot of time, it is when I’m handling his estate’s business as well, which makes it doubly weird.

I get the impression that, with my father being dead now, I am fulfilling my father’s role in some ways. What that role might be, who knows, but he’s not doing it anymore (he’s in Dewachen in a sense) so it is up to me. Perhaps it will seem less weird in time.