When my wife and I found out that our first born was going to be a boy, we did what every set of parents does…we tried to pick a name. We could have just named him after me, but I’m a Junior, and I really didn’t want a Third. We probably had more difficulties than most since we are both educators, and we had very strong opinions about certain names. So as not to offend, I won’t give any examples of the names we rejected, but the problem for an educator choosing baby names becomes the reminders of students past.

“No we can’t call him that. I had a student named…and he was horrible.”

That was a typical thing to hear in our household for a couple of months until we finally settled on a name that none of our former students had ever had. It took us a while, but at least we decided.

One of my famous relatives, President Harry Truman, comes to mind when I think about naming difficulties since the 33rd president’s parents had a similar issue with his middle name. In trying to decide on a middle name for the former President, his parents were undecided on whether to name him after his maternal grandfather or his paternal grandfather. Both of the names they were discussing began with the letter “S” so that’s what they called him…Harry S Truman.

The problem…if you want to call it that…is whether or not to put a period after the “S” in Truman’s name. I’ve always left the period off since it doesn’t actually stand for anything, and grammatically that make sense. According to the Truman Library, I’ve been wrong. But even the US government can’t decide the appropriate way to write Truman’s name.

I’m not one to stir up controversy, so from this day forward, I will forever and always refer to the Truman as “Harry 33.”

Wait, what? Truman thought he was the 32nd president? Oh good grief.

Happy 131st Birthday anyway Mr. President.