Names are our identity. They matter. Think about it: What does the Witness Protection Program do when they want you to disappear? They make you keep your first name and change your last name. When someone illegally assumes someone else's name, we say an identity's been stolen; when someone legally assumes someone else's name, we say…you're married.
Let's cut through the most platitudinous argument: "A family shares a name." Um, nuh-uh. Did your grandmother have the same last name as you? Was she still your Nana? Conversely, does having the same last name mean you'll always stay a family? Ask the Gibsons or the McCartneys or the McGreeveys or…
What's in a name? You tell me…
Faith Salie is a writer, actor and humorist who contributes to O, The Oprah Magazine 's ethics column. She is a television commentator and a former public radio host.