A popular parlour game has always been to see who shares the same birthday as you: for me, it’s the likes of:

But as Jerry Seinfeld observed: “It’s always an odd group of people too, isn’t it?”

It is rare that you can actually identify with those people who share your birthday (or more accurately, were born on the same date). Someone has to be; there’s more than 365 famous people in the world so chances are at least one of them will be born on the same date you are. Beyond that you’re living separate lives; it’s not like you’re getting together to blow out candles on a joint cake.

I submit that when you’re like me, there is a better group of people with which to compare: those that share the same initials.

Unlike birthdate-sharers, initial-sharers do have something more in common: an upbringing seared in the shared crucible of enduring taunts, insults and the like.

Your name (and by extension – or should that be contraction? – your initials) is you. Because we use language to communicate, the language a name contains helps us to identify others and to spur our memories of them. Our interactions with people revolve around this; it is why customer service jobs insist on nametags and it is why you have that awful feeling when you walk away from an encounter with someone whose name you should remember, but don’t.

So to the following people, I share a knowing glance, if not a raised and pinched nose and a ‘pee-YOU’. I know your suffering and have shared it with you. Collectively we have been reduced to BO – yes, body odour – but we are stronger for it:

* Not technically a BO, but close enough.

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