Chris Duggan has one of the more exciting — and dangerous — jobs in our clan. He’s a bona fide Hollywood stuntman who appears to specialize in slam-bang action work. Major film credits include Get Carter (2000), Dreamcatcher (2003) and First Wave (1998), according to his IMDB page, but he’s busier than that limited filmography lets on. Mr. Duggan wasn’t available to comment on what the life of a professional stuntperson actually involves, but we can safely assume that it’s far more exciting than whatever you or I happen to do for a living. To our man in Hollywood, we say: Stay safe, Mr. Duggan!
Chris Duggan is a British illustrator and portraitist whose works have appeared in numerous publications over the decades: Punch, Vogue, Time Out, The Financial Times, The European, and more. Full-length books to his credit include “Conned!( a History of Scams,
Frauds and Scandals)” and “Hic! The Entire History of Wine” — which sounds like a delightful, intoxicating read, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Mr. Duggan’s work is apparently impressive enough to earn notice from some of Britain’s most prestigious cultural institutions. His illustrations, according to his website, have been featured in the collections of the Bank of England Museum, the Cartoon Museum, and the British Cartoon Archive, among others.
First of all, congratulations! You’re about to welcome a new child into the world.
That’s a big deal. As you’re well aware, for parents, a new child is a one-way ticket to a life forever changed.
One of the many, many things you’re going to need to think about between now and whenever your child arrives is what to call the baby.
You probably have some names picked out already. Maybe a couple sex-specific names each, or names specific to just one sex if you know what it’s going to be.
There’s a pretty good chance that those names are formal. Or, if you’d prefer not to think of them that way, that they’re longer versions of more commonly used names. Commonly shortened names, you might say.
If that’s the case, you might ask, why not just start your kid off with the shorter name on their birth certificate? They can always go by the longer version, if they really want, or even legally change their name when they get old enough. But if the alternative is choosing “Kris Duggan” over “Christopher Duggan” or “Kat Simmons” over “Katherine Simmons” from age six onward, what’s the point of Christopher or Katherine to begin with?
Fair question. Let’s walk through it.
The Advantages of a Longer/Full Name for Your Child
Call it the “traditionalist” case. You might want to choose a longer or “full” name for your child because:
- It’s a family name. Sure, most people go by “Chris” these days. But what if you want to honor your child’s grandfather Christopher Duggan with a full-on “Christopher”? You should have that right.
- It sounds better in professional settings. You might think traditional names look better on a business card or letterhead. That’s a valid opinion.
- It has a nice ring to it. Longer names tend to be more sonorous than monosyllabic nicknames or shortenings. Your mileage may vary, though.
- It has a history. If you’re big on the history of names, you have every right to choose one whose pedigree stretches back centuries (or longer).
The Upsides of Shortening From the Start
Here’s the “revisionist” case for choosing a shorter name or nickname for your kid right from the beginning:
- It rolls off the tongue better. Shorter names and common nicknames are faster and easier to say than longer names, especially family names no longer in common use (or subject to mispronunciation).
- It’s more friendly-sounding. Short names are more casual and friendly-sounding. Again, that might be a good or bad thing in your book, but it is what it is.
- It’s less likely to need a nickname. Short names might not be nickname-proof, but they’re definitely less likely to require one.
It’s Your Call
Okay, let’s step back for a moment. We’ve covered many of the pros and cons of shortening (or not shortening!) your new child’s name. This is the point where we recenter the conversation on those who’ll actually be making the decision — that’s you, your partner (if you have one), and eventually, your child.
Ultimately, whether you shorten or decline to shorten your kid’s name is your call. You have the support of your fellow Kris Duggans in either case.
We’re willing to bet you’ve idly wondered where your name comes from more than once. Perhaps you’re truly fascinated by the history of your name, whether it’s Kris Duggan or a close variation thereof, or something entirely different.
Because we don’t have all day, we’ll limit this discussion to the history of the name “Kris” and close variations, such as Chris, Christopher, Kristian, Christian, Christina, and more. As it turns out — and perhaps you already suspected this — they have more in common than you might imagine.
Origins of the Name Christopher
The name Christopher dates back to Greece in the early Common Era. The original Greek name was Christophoros, which translates literally to “bearer of Christ.”
Clearly, “Christophers” weren’t around in the days of the ancient Greeks, whose heyday predates the time of Christ by several centuries. By the time the name “Christophoros” rolled around, Greece was in the process of “Christianizing” — that is, immersed in a cultural exchange that would eventually push out the old polytheistic structure and replace it with monotheistic Christianity. Saint Christopher is widely credited with popularizing the name, but there was no guarantee that it would spread at the time.
And Christian? Well, That Makes Sense
Even more so than Christopher, “Christian” is quite clearly bound up in the Christian religious tradition. Originating nearly simultaneously in various parts of Europe (though apparently with the greatest density in northern Europe and Scandinavia) during the late Middle Ages, this name was just as it sounded: a signifier that the bearer was a member of the Christian faith. It should be noted that “Kristian,” a common variation to this day, was the spelling of choice in Scandinavian precincts.
Common Variations of Christopher and Christian (As in “Chris Duggan”)
Part of what makes the study of names so interesting is accounting for the linguistic variations in common names. “Christophoros” remains uncommon beyond the Greek-speaking regions, of course, but variations on it exist in virtually every corner of the Western world. So, depending on where you’re from, you might know your fellow “Christophoroses” as:
- Christoph (Germany)
- Cristofor (Romania)
- Christophe (France)
- Kristof (Dutch)
- Kristoffer (Sweden, Norway, Denmark)
The same goes “Christian” (often spelled “Kristian,” as we noted) and “Christina”:
- Cristian and Cristina (Spain, Italy, Portugal, and other countries)
- Cristiona (Ireland)
- Kristina (Sweden)
And, of course, these names often exist in shortened form. (See: Kris Duggan.) In some countries, Cristinas or Christinas are more commonly known as Cris or Cristi; ditto for Christophers and Kristophers (Chris and Kris, respectively).
Names Are Funny Things
Well, that just about wraps our discussion of the origins of the name(s) that may or may not have brought you to this website today. We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about where your own name comes from. If you’re not a member of the extended Kris/Chris/Cris family, we encourage you to learn more about your own name’s history and meaning. You might discover something you never knew about yourself.
If you’re reading this, fellow Kris Duggan, you know what it’s like to share a name in common. But what if your name-ganger (like doppelganger, but for names) happens to be someone more famous than yourself?
Must you be consigned to a life lived in the shadow of a fairer, better-known person? Or is it within your abilities to turn this association to your advantage and embrace the awesome power of name recognition?
Our bets are on the latter. Here are some ideas to make the most of your name association with a celebrity name-ganger — past or present.
Get to Know Your Famous Name-ganger Better
Under ordinary circumstances, the person with whom you share a full name may not be someone to whom you’d pay any special attention. But these aren’t ordinary circumstances.
Read up on your name-ganger; Wikipedia is a good start, but probably should not be your only resource. Learn more about their background, what they’re famous for, their lifestyle, and any extracurricular activities or causes for which they’re known.
Figure Out How Popular (And Likable) They Really Are
Tease out how popular this person really is. Not every famous person is equally well-liked or well-regarded. In certain domains, such as politics and sports, you’ll find characters that “enjoy” near-universal revulsion.
Elsewhere, it’s just as common to find public figures with remarkably high “Q” scores — a key measure of personal likability used in show business. How well your name-ganger comes off is important to your treatment of the association.
Identify at Least One Thing You Do Better Than Them
Next, turn the tables on your name-ganger by identifying at least one thing you do better than them and emphasizing this difference in your personal branding. Since you’re unlikely to work in the same profession as your name-ganger, this could be as easy as calling yourself a better lawyer or nurse or economist than whatever start of the screen or page or stage you happen to share a name with.
Call Them Out by Name, But Know Where the Line Lies
While we’ve thus far assumed that it’s best to lean into your name association with a particular famous person, it’s important not to take things too far. You don’t want a good-natured running joke to turn into fodder for a lawsuit. Above all else, be respectful of your name-ganger’s privacy and humanity, just as you’d prefer them to be of yours.
Keep Your Head Up — It’s Yours, After All
In the end, you are your own Kris Duggan (or whatever your name happens to be). No one can take that away from you, not even the far more famous person with whom you happen to share a first and last name.
The last thing you want to do is permit an inferiority complex to take root. Sure, you might never be as well-known as your name-ganger, but you still have much to be proud of. Name recognition isn’t the only measure of personal or professional success.
So, while it’s perfectly acceptable to lean into your celebrity association, you should resist allowing that association to define you. There’s so much more to your story than a mere accident of birth.
Do you share a name with a famous person? How do you handle the burden?
Mr. Kris Duggan is an all-American guy from the close-knit town of Jackson, Tennessee, conveniently located between Nashville (Music City USA!) and Memphis (home of the Delta Blues, of course).
Mr. Duggan works for FedEx, one of the region’s largest employers (and proud to call nearby Memphis its global headquarters). His job sometimes keeps him out on the road for hours or days at a time, but that doesn’t get him down — he takes solace in knowing that, without him, folks would have to wait longer for holiday gifts, birthday presents, and “just-because” purchases.
Kristen Duggan doesn’t always go by “Kris Duggan,” but that’s no matter. She’s a proud resident of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, an absolutely stunning region of rolling foothills and verdant plains straddling the divide between the Alps and Apennines, Italy’s two largest mountain ranges.
Ms. Duggan lives between the waterlogged medieval metropolis of Venice and the storybook university town of Bologna; some days, she can’t decide which she loves more. When she’s not exploring the mountains or hitting one of her favorite Adriatic beaches, she’s probably out exploring northern Italy with her partner.
Mr. Kris Duggan lives in the quiet Leeds suburb of Castleford, part of the extensive urban agglomeration stretching from Liverpool in the west to Hull in the east. If you love the outdoors, as this particular Kris Duggan does, there’s no better place to be, with the Lake District next door and the stunning Scottish highlands not too far off.
When he’s not checking out autos on auction or exploring the beautiful parks of northern England and Scotland, you’ll find Mr. Duggan spending time with his family, taking a Sunday drive, or reconnecting with his mates.
Ms. Kris Duggan, nee Kayser, lives in Cedar Falls, Iowa — a tight-knit college town home to the University of Northern Iowa, the Hawkeye State’s third-largest public university. Ms. Duggan is a proud graduate of UNI (go Panthers!) and counts among her friends many fellow alumni who’ve remained in the area after graduating.
Ms. Duggan has many hobbies and interests. She’s a big fan of stage productions, as are other members of her family. One recent highlight: a trip to the big city to see “Hamilton,” the Broadway smash. And, like any born and bred Iowan, she loves escaping to warmer climes during the long, harsh winter.