What happened to Miro Jurišić?

In March 2005, Jelena Antonić and I changed our names to Ben and Erin Artin.

Why did you change your name?

From a practical standpoint, our old names were inconvenient. Of the two first and the two last names, Miro was the only one that was not consistently mispronounced. We decided that we would rather spend a short period of time getting everyone to use our new names, than have to correct the pronunciation for the foreseeable future.

In addition to that, the old names implied a background that we no longer felt was entirely appropriate. They drew attention away from our present lives and to cultures in which we’d had no active participation for over a decade. Consequently, we sought names that would fit better with who we are and whom we are among.

Why didn’t you just change your name to an anglicized version of your old name, such as “Miro Jurishich”?

Once we decided to go through the hassle of changing the names in the first place, we concluded we would rather pick names we wanted than be constrained by the names we had been given at birth.

Also, we were not looking simply for more convenient names, but for names that fit better with our present lives.

Didn’t you think your old name was nice?

Yes. However, our decision to change our names was driven in part by our desire to have names that are practical as well as appealing. We thought that our new names were as nice as the old names, but far easier to use.

How did you choose your new name?

We started with a list of baby names and a list of last names. We eliminated all names that could not be pronounced in all of Serbian, Croatian, and English. (This eliminated everything with the letters x, y, q, and w, as well as everything with a double letter.)

We were still left with too many names to choose from, so we decided to focus on names that can be spelled using symbols for chemical elements. This left us with a manageable list that we then reviewed by hand.

We narrowed the lists of first and last names down to about 20 possible candidates, then ranked them separately, and compared our rankings. We tried out the top few names in restaurants and other places where ID was not required, to see how we feel about using them and responding to them.

Finally, we checked the top candidates in google, and asked a few friends what they thought about them.

Didn’t you inconvenience all your friends?

Yes, but we also spared them the awkwardness of mispronouncing our names. We thought this was a reasonable tradeoff.

You new last names are the same. Are you married?

Changing our names was an expression of our commitment to each other, and completely independent of the legal status of our relationship.

You and Erin broke up. Are you changing your name back?

While there are things I wish I had done differently in our relationship, I am happy with the name change and have no desire to undo it.

Can I continue calling you by your old name?

Please don’t.