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What's in a name?

I grew up thinking that my name was Frank Vito Simplicio. My father wanted me to be named after his older brother, Frank, who he adored. The middle name, Vito, was my father's name. It wasn't until I was 13 years old that I discovered that in fact my name was Vito Frank Simplicio. My parents have no memory in how this came about. Apparently, my mother must have registered me with the name without my father's knowledge. One thing was for certain my father was fit to be tied. How did this happen? She had no clue. I found the whole experience intriguing, however, I continued to go by Frank.

That abruptly changed once I joined the army. At basic training when my platoon sergeant was doing roll call with us new soldiers for the first time, came to my name and called out, “Vito Simplicio.” I responded “here” but made the mistake of quickly correcting him with, “but I go by Frank.” He looked at me annoyingly and responded with, “Soldier, is your formal name Vito Simplicio?” “Yes, platoon sergeant,” I replied. Then with a stern face he responded, “In the army you are Vito Simplicio.” Yes, sir.

After the army I went directly into college. When I first met my new apartment roommates, one of them was a guy name Frank. He said that he’d consider letting me move in with them but then replied that there was one condition to be met. In his words, "There's no way in hell that we'll have two Franks living here. We are calling you Vito!" Since then, I've learned to go by two names. My family and friends that knew me before the army continued to call me Frank and everyone afterwards has known me by Vito.

I had mentioned earlier that I was intrigued to learn about my real name so I decided to do some research into its meaning and came up with, "Vito Frank Simplicio, a life that free and simple." My parents had never intended to place meaning behind my name but I certainly liked it. However, there's been times in my life that I think I should have been named, Vito Complexio!

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