The trouble with Michael

1 Feb

In my first two years of university, I met seven guys names Michael.  Seven.  I actually had them numbered to keep them straight.  Well, not really to keep them straight; really, it just amused me.  Michael Caspi was Mike 1.  My future-husband Michael was Mike 2.  And so on.

Michael always rather resented the fact that he was Michael 2.  But I can’t help it if he wasn’t the first Michael I met.  He must be over it by now, since I went and married him to show him he’s by far the most important Michael I’ve ever met.


Most of us have a few Michaels in our lives.  It was only one of the top ten most popular names for four or five decades running, so it’s pretty hard to go anywhere and not encounter one.  And yet, I bet that “Michael” is probably one of the most frequently misspelled names.

No peeking now.  Close your eyes and spell the name.  How did you do?  Did you get the A-E-L right at the end?  Or did your spell it Mich-e-a-l?

Since the vast majority of my readers are highly literate, I’d guess that most of you got it right.  But even that isn’t a guarantee.  I know because when I first started dating Michael, I sometimes spelled his name wrong.  Yikes.

The thing is, I really ought to know better because I have an Uncle Michael.  He’s German, and in German the name is pronounced in three syllables: Mi-cha-el.  Pretty hard to go wrong there.  Besides, all those other angel names end in “el”: Gabriel, Uriel, Raphael…  Not surprising, since “El” is the Hebrew word for “God”.  (Nobody ever called God “Al”, did they?)

With those rules in mind, I finally remembered how to get it right.  And I’ll bet you’ll never get it wrong again either. Right?

This has been your unsolicited public service announcent.

And you thought I was going to complain about my husband, didn’t you?

11 Responses to “The trouble with Michael”

  1. Jenny February 2, 2009 at 2:32 am #

    With us it’s Bill. My husband is Bill and we know so many Bill’s it’s unreal! When Isaiah was little we figured he thought all Daddy’s were named Bill
    When my friend Lori and i talk (her husband also a Bill) we have to say “my Bill” “your Bill”. I asked a friend of Isaiah’s “your dad’s not named bill too is he?” and they said no Will! Hello! Still William!

  2. Joy February 2, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    My husband is a Michael, when we first started dating, he was working/ going to school with another Michael who also shared the same middle name. In medical school, there was another Michael with the same last name a couple of years behind him. We have had our fair share of confusion over the years!

  3. Lindsay February 2, 2009 at 11:14 am #

    What about James! My son, husband, father, father-in-law, friends husband, and brother’s middle name (to list a few), all James’. It’s all a bit ridiculous. Even our Alexandria has an Alexandria in her class so they call them by their first and last names! Nevermind just calling her Alex as we do. There is an Alex in her class too!

  4. Captain Momma February 2, 2009 at 11:35 am #

    You had to point out that I spelled his name wrong hey???? When I posted on his blog I saw just as I hit post comment that I had spelled his name wrong. And I thought I could get away with it…..:)


    Actually, I haven’t seen your blog post yet! I swear I wasn’t picking on you. 🙂 Actually, we knew a guy in the NWT who spelled his name E-A-L… it was on his birth certificate like that.

  5. Marian February 2, 2009 at 2:02 pm #

    Michael used to be in the top 10 boys’ names….twice. Once spelled the correct way “ael” and the other “eal”. Crazy.

  6. Bubblybunny February 2, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    Heehee…yes, I was expecting juice on your husband. Heehee…

    Speaking of spelling your spouse’s name wrong, my hubby still spells mine wrong once in awhile. Actually, he’s not a very good speller in general but I think it’s cute to find at least one spelling mistakes on every single card he has ever given me since day 1. Sometimes, his writing is so bad that you can’t even read what the word says…and he probably did that on purpose so I wouldn’t catch his spelling mistake. Hahah…

  7. Jan February 3, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    Hi Fawn, thanks for commenting on my blog! I enjoy “meeting” other mothers who are on the ketogenic journey as well. I felt so alone when we first got my daughters epilepsy diagnosis but I’ve met a lot of really great people thanks to the wonder of the internet! It’s so refreshing to connect with people who know exactly what you are going through. How is the diet going for your daughter?


  8. Nem February 3, 2009 at 6:26 pm #

    I just couldn’t resist the “Al” comment. I loves etymology:

    “Eloah (or Elah in Aramaic) is roughly equivalent to Ilah in Arabic, which means a god, any god. In Hebrew when the suffix ‘-im’ is added to Eloah, it donotes plurality, and ‘Elohim’ can refer to either Almighty God, or ‘gods’. Although, in most incidences where Elohim appears in the Holy Bible, Elohim refers to God rather than gods. In Arabic, if you add the prefix ‘Al-’ meaning ‘The’ to ‘Ilah’ it becomes ‘Al-Ilah’ or ‘The God’. However, due to the nature of Arabic, ‘Al-Ilah’ never appears in this form, as it always is written as ‘Allah’. Allah always refers to Almighty God, whereas Elohim usually refers to Almighty God, but their root in Eloah/Elah/Ilah is the same.”

    Okay, so it’s a prefix rather than a noun, but it’s a very important prefix! 🙂

  9. Sarah February 3, 2009 at 8:45 pm #

    It could be worse. In Brazil it would be misspelled “Maicon” – on the guy’s birth certificate. I kid you not – there are thousands of them out there, and quite a few Jhonathans, too!

    Thanks for saying hello on my blog, Fawn. Love your blog!

  10. Barbara February 5, 2009 at 6:05 pm #

    Yep – I fell for the faulty title.

    Lots o’ Bobs, Robs and Roberts around, too. But at least 2 Michaels in the vicinity on the family tree.

    I read Nem’s comment closely. Very interesting.

    And what I wanted to say MOST was that I have a thing for the ArchAngels. Each name ending in ‘el’ escaped me. Thank you!


  1. 2009 in review: the cop-out « Fawnahareo’s Place - January 3, 2010

    […] In my first two years of university, I met seven guys names Michael. […]

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