So what do they call me? Some adopt the age old defence mechanism of not calling me anything. It’s an easy strategy to be fair, especially if we’re unlikely to ever meet again. Confident individuals who think they’ve heard me correctly, mostly call me “Colin” or (God forbid) “Callum. Now I'm in a quandary of whether to correct them.
"Colum" pronounced "Column". It's not a "normal" name, so people’s brains go into pattern recognition mode. That would be OK if their pattern recognition database recognised my name. Unfortunately it doesn't, resulting in a vague attempt to say my name correctly.
But "column" is a perfectly ordinary word. Tourists walk past Nelson’s Column in London every day. Architects talk about rococo columns. Even using tables in a desktop application on a laptop results in talk about adding and removing columns without batting an eyelid. So why is my name so difficult to get? It's one of life's great puzzles.
I blame my parents. Colum, meaning Dove, is an Irish form of the Latin word "Columba". As an Irishman, I'm proud of my Celtic heritage, but the Irish don't have it all their own way. There are diminutives of my name in other languages too:
- Colin or Coleman (English)
- Kolman or Koloman (German)
- Colombo, Colombano, or Columbanus (Italian)
- Calum, Callum, or Cailean (Scottish)
- Koloman (Slovak)