Help my brother change his name
My younger brother, Mark Ayzenshtat, is about to graduate from Columbia University and wants to change his last name before plunging into the real world. He thinks his name is overly long and oddly spelled and has set up a blog to solicit name ideas. If you help him choose his new name, you’ll be able to wring a favor out of him later on in life. Or maybe I’m thinking of leprechauns again. Anyway, I’ve already suggested all of the scatological, juvenilely prurient and post-ironic names, so don’t bother with those.
February 24, 2004 | Permalink
This solicitation is definitely more "mind wanders" than "security" - but thanks.
Posted by: Mark Ayzenshtat | Feb 24, 2004 1:30:12 PM
I sent Mark the following:
Having an unusual Germanic last name myself (Kutzler), I long ago adopted your tactic of automatically spelling my last name for people. I've toyed with the idea of changing my name, but finally decided that I like Kutzler. I went to high school with a kid named (and, as Dave Barry would say, "I'm not making this up") Harvey Boner. We were on the wrestling team together and he was a nice kid. Predictably, he picked up the nickname "Harvey Hard On" in sixth grade and it stayed with him all the way through high school. Harvey legally changed his name to "Bonner" before he left for college. He's now an optometrist.
I'm sure that you are already aware that "Ayzenshtat," when literally translated from its Germanic/Slavic roots, means "Iron City." Given that the Austrian city of Eisenstadt existed in some form since before the Iron Age, it is plausible that Eisenstadt was/is a center for iron mining, smelting and manufacturing. I would recommend that you select a name that includes or evokes the word "iron" to maintain a connection to your traditional family name and heritage.
A literal translation, "Ironcity," won't work because people will try to pronounce it Eye-RON-city (kind of like "synchronicity"). Even if you split it ("Iron City") or hyphenate it ("Iron-City"), it just doesn't roll off the tongue well. You could use an English name containing the word iron, e.g., Ironwood, Irontree, Ironsmith, Ironside etc.
Ironcross is an interesting choice, but might sound a little too "Deutschland Uber Alles," if you know what I mean. Ironstar has a nice ring.
If you care to venture outside of English, you might consider "Ciudad de Ierro" (SEE-uu-dodd day EE-arrow, with the "rr"rolled) which is Spanish for "City of Iron." It has a rather aristocratic sound, suggesting a link to Spanish nobility. You would still be stuck with having to spell your name for people and it's a bit long to write and type. I spent part of my childhood in Minnesota where iron mining is a large industry. There is a huge deposit of taconite, a low-grade iron ore, in northern Minnesota called the "Mesabi Range." Mesabi is a Native American (probably Chippawa) name. It's an interesting name, it's short, two syllables and not too difficult to pronounce or spell. It maintains a link to the iron theme, but sounds almost Japanese (a bit too close to wasabe, green horseradish paste used on Sushi), and only people from Minnesota would recognize the name and make the connection.
Considering all the ideas along this theme, I like "Ironstar" best. If you say Ayzenshtat and Ironstar a few times out loud, you'll note that they sound vaguely similar. This means that your brain doesn't have to take too big of a leap to wrap your personal identity around this new name. Only the thickest dyslexic could misspell it. It's an interesting enough name that people will be more likely to remember it.
David L. Kutzler
Posted by: David L. Kutzler | Feb 25, 2004 6:55:08 PM
I like several of those suggestions. Thanks!
Posted by: Phil Libin | Feb 26, 2004 1:18:38 AM
This may seem downright lame after David's well written and detailed suggestions, but it's actually based on information from his letter.
How about Ferris? It's a pun (i know, lowest form, etc) on iron. Iron... Ferrous... Ferris!
Posted by: Peter Cheng | Mar 17, 2004 11:52:41 AM
Why not just shorten it to Mark Ayzen (i' zen)....? sounds good to me
Posted by: Dave | Oct 15, 2007 5:25:03 PM
Whose Peter Cheng.....? He did not come up with that name I did.......!
Posted by: Dave | Oct 15, 2007 5:26:49 PM
I once new a guy named Mark, he had a friend named Brian who used to have a go cart, now he had a friend named Tom, whose nickname was "Fert" or "Fertman" and he had an engine which he used for a go cart, now this guy once had a friend named Dave who used to hang out with Mark, Brian and Tom, maybe not all at the same time, but they all took turns using Brians go cart. Now seeing how a go cart uses and engine and clutch connected to a chain which in turn is connected to an axle which turns the rear wheels, perhaps we should just call this thing a mini car, but that would conflict with the mini cooper. So perhaps we should not go ahead and make our lives too confusing and just say Ay, or I guess you could call him Mark Ay........I'm sure Mark has a friend who knew a fella that once had the same problem.......? I guess I watched this show with a guy named Gunny who was a marine and I'm sure He had a friend named Mark as well.
Posted by: Dave | Oct 15, 2007 5:33:39 PM