Garifallia and the burden of tradition

What's in a name, you might ask. While the case of Romeo and Juliet was a bit extreme, names do make a difference in the way one is perceived and can truly be a burden, especially when they are out of tune with the times. This is especially the case with the so-called "traditional" names, though some more than others. I ought to know. I have been lumbered with one my entire life. You see, my baptismal name is Garifallia, and being loath to pretension, for much of my life I misguidedly chose to use it in its entirety rather than opt for one of its diminutives.

To begin with, the name literally translates to a "carnation plant." It is like being called a "rose bush." Greek people can tell you all about it. In American terms, you could say that my "traditional" name spans the gamut of, let's say, Betty Sue to Ricky Bob. And, with all due respect to my yiayia and to tradition,...

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