January 15, 2004

A post about Netscape that rapidly deteriorates into lots of crap about me, me, me

So Netscape is doing this publicity thing where they're selling first-name-only e-mail addresses on eBay. So if you dream of being Josh@netscape.com -- even if your name is Martina -- you can put in a bid towards a magic dream land where the first half of your e-mail address does not end in "23752" or something.

Anyway, Netscape Shmetscape. The thing I find interesting is looking to see which first names made the cut. Like, say...to take a name entirely at random...Francis? Whoops. Not there. Chas, 4 variations on Deborah, Lora, Pammy, and a multitude of nicknames for William, yes, but no Francis. Well, let's check my middle name, Joseph. Oh -- also not there. Frank Joe Heaney, if you're out there, now is your moment.

The whole Francis/Frank thing has bedeviled me for most of my life in one way or another. I am, in fact, Francis Joseph Heaney III. But my father and grandfather both traded in "Francis" for "Frank" at some point in their lives. As a kid, I just assumed that was what happened when you grew up and your name was Francis -- you changed it to Frank. As I actually got older, naturally I realized this wasn't the case, and I started wondering why my progenitors had both seen fit to change theirs. I figured it was because they couldn't hack it. You think it's easy being named Francis? Think again!

Because, let me tell you, it isn't only kids who think that people named Francis naturally want to be called Frank. It is a lot of people. It's kind of amazing how many people will get introduced to me and immediately start calling me Frank, without asking if I prefer being called Frank or anything. They just jump right in. It's weird.

But feel free to call me Franny McFrannerstein.

Posted by Francis at 03:03 AM

I feel the same way. There is a strange gravitation to "Charlie" even though I couldn't be less of a Charlie if I tried.

Yet I will put up with Chas, because I know that nobody can call me Chas for long with a straight face. Who wants to keep cracking themselves up before they even get to the joke?

Frankly (no pun intended, seriously) I don't even know how they get "Charlie" from Ugarte.

Posted by: Ugarte at January 15, 2004 10:48 AM

Hey, you're a III? Then forget that whole Francis/Frank business. Join the ranks of the Trips. (Or even the Treys, if you're so inclined.)

Posted by: Trip at January 15, 2004 01:18 PM

I'm not sure what the big deal about buying a netscape address with your first name would be. It's not impossible to get your name as your email address. For about $8 you can register your own domain and give yourself whatever email you want.

Posted by: Doug at January 15, 2004 11:42 PM

Yeah, that's one big reason that the whole thing is stupid. I guess if you get your own domain name, you don't have the "prestige" of an e-mail address with Netscape in it.

Posted by: Francis at January 15, 2004 11:58 PM

I have the same problem. I frequently have people call me Kathy after I'm introduced as Katherine. Though I go by Kath with friends these days, I have never, ever been a Kathy.

Posted by: Kath at January 19, 2004 06:35 AM

So you think the Heaney thing is strange? Actually the Heaney name is an ancient and honerable name.... My name is Joseph Francis Heaney , same name different variation. Where might you be from?

Posted by: Joseph Francis Heaney at March 23, 2004 08:49 PM