Friday, May 17, 2013

That Silent, but Troublesome G

I *think* I have blogged before about how I deal with people who feel compelled to comment on the, er, unusualness of my last name. (It's not that I'm too lazy to check, I'm just blogging from my ipad and can't figure out how to search through my old posts. TECHNOLOGY.) The name for this blog encapsulates my philosophy of embracing the obvious word my name resembles, instead of trying to deny it. I've gotten pretty steely about it, but still, when I have to spell my name for anyone, in person or on the phone, I feel a nervous twinge that the person will either a) laugh or b) think I'm crudely pranking them and get mad. But overall, I have been impressed with customer service folks -- they must see a lot of crazy-ass names and be trained to not react.

In the category of Words Your Last Name Can Look Like, mine is pretty bad. On the plus side, it is memorable. And it's become enmeshed with my identity -- when people think of me, they think of my whole name (or so I've been told). Katie Vagnino. Even my closest friends and ex-boyfriends have admitted to this phenomenon of being unable to just think of me as "Katie."

I used to think about changing my name -- really, just getting rid of the "g". Back when I was fantasizing about being an Academy Award-winning actress, on the cover of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People issue, I saw my name appearing as KATIE VANINO. My father, when he ventured briefly into the world of winemaking, got rid of the "g". I guess he worried no one would want to drink vagina wine.

I really can't imagine getting rid of the "g" now -- it's grown on me. However, there are moments when it's a little annoying. Like when I applied for a Wikipedia account and requested the username KatieVagnino and got an e-mail telling me that my username did not comply with their username policies. Here's the entire e-mail thread, for your amusement:

On Sun, May 12, 2013 at 9:19 PM, <> wrote:
Many thanks for your interest in joining Wikipedia. Unfortunately the username that you have requested does not comply with our username policy, and so I am unable to create this account for you.

Please take a look at our username policy ( and choose a different username. You may be able to create the account with the new name you have chosen yourself at If so, I wish you all the best and hope you enjoy your time on Wikipedia.

If you are still unable to create the name yourself, we will gladly process your new request here, and I look forward to hearing from you again with your new choice of username.

From: [mailto:accounts-enwiki-l-bounces@lists.wikimedia.orgOn Behalf Of Katie Vagnino
Sent: Monday, 13 May 2013 1:46 PM
Subject: Re: [Accounts-enwiki-l] [ACC #99734] English Wikipedia Account Request

Is my last name, Vagnino, considered inappropriate?  I'm very confused. I just requested my name as my username: KatieVagnino. Katie Vagnino is my name.
I guess new username choice would be KatieV2013. But Vagnino is my last name, not an offensive word, and frankly, I find it a little offensive that you think my name is an inappropriate username!
Please respond,

From: "User:Callanecc" <>
Date: May 13, 2013, 7:53:50 AM CDT
To: "'Katie Vagnino'" <>, "'Internal discussion between the English Wikipedia's account creation team'" <>
Subject: RE: [Accounts-enwiki-l] [ACC #99734] English Wikipedia Account Request
Hi Katie,

My apologies, your explanation has changed my opinion of your request.

I apologies most sincerely for any offense caused, it certainly wasn’t intentional.

I have created your account with your originally requested username “KatieVagnino”, and again you have my sincere apologies.

Kind regards,

English Wikipedia Account Creation Team

1 comment:

Katie Vagnino said...

I just noticed that the guy from Wikipedia's name is "Callanecc."