April 29, 2009

Enid Gabriella “Biella” Coleman

Category: Uncategorized — Biella @ 7:52 pm

Today I found out that some of my students refer to me as “Enid,” a name which has rarely been used to call my attention but now circulates almost daily to my students whenever I post a message on Blackboard. It was a little mortifying to find out as I don’t identify much with Enid, though it has always tagged quietly along with my other names.

BB, which we use for readings, our discussion forum,and email messages, spits out my legal (tax) name, which bears the full Enid Gabriella Coleman. Although I have tried, somewhat persistently, I have failed to change it to the E. Gabriella Coleman that I would rather use. While I find it hard to embrace Enid as I just don’t feel like an Enid, at least yet (and may break it out when I write fiction or when I turn 65), I have always liked having the name Enid in so far as it pays homage to my Aunt Enid whose life ended far too early, soon before I was born and from all accounts, she was one stellar woman.

My parents chose to tack it on for commemorative purposes, intending to call me Gabriella after some Italian cabaret singer my mother loved. The plan, however, was immediately foiled by my older sister who apparently blurted out something like “Biella” when she saw the scraggly “rat-like baby” (as my mom used to describe me) that was christened her younger sister.

Biella, like Gabriella, also has Italian roots: it is a beautiful town in Italty and a less than beautiful but so-ugly-it-is-kinda-cute Italian Pug.

Perhaps the lesson in all of this is to tell students about my name and finally ditch BB, which is the software equivalent to Soviet style communist housing, and move over to another platform.


  1. You definitely have my sympathy on this one. Getting some organisations to call you by your name (rather than the government-standardised corruption of your name) can be pretty difficult. I spent a few years trying to fix this bug in debian… I know I fixed it for me, but I don’t know if it’s generally fixed yet.

    Comment by MJ Ray — April 30, 2009 @ 1:58 am

  2. I’m curious, if your parent’s intentions were for “commemorative purposes”, why not make “Enid” the middle name? (Or is that just an anglo thing?)

    Comment by Joseph Reagle — April 30, 2009 @ 4:51 am

  3. Mhhhhh …
    Pug \Pug\, n. [Corrupted fr. puck. See {Puck}.]
    1. An elf, or a hobgoblin; also same as {Puck}. [Obs.] –B.
    [1913 Webster]

    2. A name for a monkey. [Colloq.] –Addison.
    [1913 Webster]

    3. A name for a fox. [Prov. Eng.] –C. Kingsley.
    [1913 Webster]

    4. An intimate; a crony; a dear one. [Obs.] –Lyly.
    [1913 Webster]

    5. pl. Chaff; the refuse of grain. [Obs.] –Holland.
    [1913 Webster]

    6. A prostitute. [Obs.] –Cotgrave.
    [1913 Webster]

    7. (Zool.) One of a small breed of pet dogs having a short
    nose and head; a pug dog.
    [1913 Webster]

    8. (Zool.) Any geometrid moth of the genus {Eupithecia}.
    [1913 Webster]

    English, indeed, is not always that simple ;)

    Comment by memnon — April 30, 2009 @ 4:54 am

  4. Joe:

    I should have mentioned this:

    They thought

    Enid Gabriella Coleman looked better than
    Gabriella Enid Coleman

    And I think they are right but it has since caused me some grief!

    Comment by Biella — April 30, 2009 @ 6:08 am

  5. Just tell them your real name: MAD DOG aka Da 20-20.

    Comment by Rex — May 1, 2009 @ 9:20 pm

  6. They all know that rex: just too afraid to mutter the words…

    Comment by Biella — May 2, 2009 @ 6:17 am

  7. Did like, did read.

    Comment by Stephen — May 4, 2009 @ 1:40 pm

  8. @Joseph Reagle – some Anglo families use middle names as short name, although it seems to be dying out now – thanks in part to inflexible informal bureaucrats who call people by their first (ceremonial) name without asking?

    Comment by MJ Ray — May 5, 2009 @ 2:34 am

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