My Most Epic Name Change To Date

I love my name.

Just getting it out of the way, I have an old man’s first name and a woman’s last name…and I love it.

In high school, teachers would pronounce my name “Juddy” at the beginning of the year or ask where Judy Cliff was assuming a boy surely couldn’t have a girl’s name for his last name.  How awkward, right?  Whatever.

I was also a horrible quarterback, a good swimmer, and a serviceable third baseman, so my name appeared in several high school athletics programs.  Cliff Judy has been misspelled as Cliff Jury, Cliff July, and my personal favorite Cliff Jusy (which I can only assume is pronounced “Juicy”).  Why I didn’t save these programs, I’ll never know.

In college, I had a professor try to convince me I should change my name because viewers might be put off by a male reporter with a female last name.  She tried to convince me Cliff Judd, Cliff Jude, or Cliff Evans (Evan is my middle name, which I also love) would be more appropriate.  I disagreed.

I like it because I’m named after a great uncle and it’s not Joe Smith common.  There is only one other Cliff Judy I’ve found, and near as I can tell, he’s an engineer in West Virginia.

My point is…I’ve never had a name change as fantastic as the one I learned of this past weekend.  It left the KMBC newsroom (including the “confused” parties) howling.


I’ll preface this story with one quick fact:  my younger brother’s name is Marcus.

My Uncle Ernest owns a coyote pen in Dekalb, Missouri.  I’d guess 99% of the general population doesn’t know what a coyote pen is, so I’ll explain.  My uncle owns a plot of fenced-off land where he keeps coyotes.  Hunters bring their hunting dogs to Uncle Ernest’s acreage to train the dogs on how to catch a coyote.  None of my uncle’s animals get hurt.  It’s just a training ground to corner the coyote.

Uncle Ernest recently leased his land to some people from my hometown, Kearney, Missouri.

Upon learning of his clients’ residence, my uncle said, “I have kin in Kearney.  One of them is a reporter for Channel 9.”

“Really?” they said.  “What’s his name?  We’ll watch for him.”

In a momentary memory lapse, Uncle Ernest answered, “Marcus.”

Any regular KMBC viewer knows we have an outstanding reporter named Marcus Moore.

Marcus Moore (Courtesy: KMBC 9 News, Hearst Corporation)

A few days later, Uncle Ernest went back to his coyote pen and talked to the same men.

“We seen your kin,” they told him and then paused in confusion.  “He’s pretty dark.”


2 Responses to “My Most Epic Name Change To Date”

  1. James Williams Says:

    Great story and you’re right — better to have something unique vs. something common. I’ve seen my name in obituaries, crime blotters and jazz museums. It’s a little eerie when it happens.

    –Joe Smith aka James Williams

  2. Danny Says:

    Psh a real reporter would alter his name to something awesome like Cliff Divers, or Jammer Judy.

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