Home, James

Well-meaning folks often call me "Jim," but I always politely correct them: I go by "James." (Salespeople and ministers do this most often, but so do a lot of folks who are just trying to be friendly.) Perhaps it is a bit of formality in my personality, but I have a couple of other good reasons for prefering "James."

First, I am the fourth in a long line of people named "James." In fact, I'm the fifth out of the last six generations in my family:

James Smiley Bohanan
George Smiley Bohanan
James Kezar Bohanan, Sr.
James Kezar Bohanan, Jr.
James Kezar Bohanan, III
James Kezar Bohanan, IV
Of these, my father (III) is still alive, and I remember Sr. and Jr. quite well. (My grandfather being killed by cigarettes only a few years ago.) If I had a son, he would not be named James, by the way. This was practically a condition of my marriage to Pamela.

When I was a youngster in northern Virginia, my great-grandfather went by "Keys" (after our middle name). My grandfather - at 6'4" - was "Big Jimmy." My father, was "Little Jimmy" - only 6'3". Inevitably, I was "Baby Jimmy." As soon as I realized that going by "James" could get me out of this, I started insisting on it, and I've never gone back.

When I got married, Pamela wanted to keep her own name, a position I supported. I wanted us both to have the same name, so we adopted what was a fairly common compromise in the 1980s - we both hyphenated. I achieved this without a court order, by using the name consistently and challenging any institution that hesitated to let me use it. I am not sure I would recommend this choice to everyone, though: it took a lot of effort.

The combination of a suffixed and hyphenated name resulted in a peculiar technical problem. I did not feel that the following name was appropriate:

James Kezar Hayes-Bohanan, IV
My reason for not using this name is that it implies that I am the fourth person named "James Kezar Hayes-Bohanan," and as far as I know, the name is unique. I therefore decided to move the "IV" (said "the fourth") into the inside of my name, because only the "James Kezar" part had been repeated.

Thus my name is:

James Kezar IV Hayes-Bohanan
To get this printed on my master's degree, I had to appeal to the registrar at Miami University, because I had applied to the school before I was married. To get this printed on my doctoral degree, I had to appeal to the registrar at the University of Arizona and work directly with the computer programmer responsible for printing degrees!

Once I earned my doctorate, my name is officially either

Dr. James Kezar IV Hayes-Bohanan
James Kezar IV Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
I hope I have not created too much confusion. A person with whom I was doing business recently exclaimed "He has so many names, I don't know what to call him!"

I understand his confusion. Just call me "James," but if you call me "Jim," I can still be your friend!