"Is This One?"

Frequently Asked Dead Presidents Questions

What Kind of a Name is "Manus Hand," Anyway?

Manus means "Hand" in Latin. So I'm Hand Hand, or Manus Manus, or Hand Manus, or Manus Hand. Whatever.

The next question I get is, "That can't be your real name. It's just an Internet pseudonym, right?" The answer is no, it's not a pseudonym. It is my real name. Manus Joseph Hand. (Joseph because I was born on St. Joseph's Day -- I was supposed to be Manus Patrick Hand, but I arrived two days late and had to wait until confirmation to add Patrick to my name.)

With the last name "Hand," my dad always thought "Manus" would make a good and original first name. But when I was being baptized, the officiating priest said, "Ah! Manus! Now there's a fine old Irish name!" This surprised my father, but delighted him as well, since we are a very Irish family. Had the priest said that "Manus" was an old English name, I'd have likely been orphaned at the altar.

I have since heard tell of more than a few Irishmen who proudly share my first name. Despite the similarity, "Manus" is not related to the Scandinavian name "Magnus" meaning "great," though I am sometimes confused with people named Magnus (probably because I am great -- he says, tongue firmly in cheek).

My name is pronounced "MAWN-us" (in a true bastardization of the Latin), but in the course of 40+ years of life, I've learned to answer to anything close, from "MAN-us" (the most common) to "MAIN-us" (every night I thank God for the letter "M") to "Mayonnaise."

My father's name is James, so I named my own son "McManus Jameson Hand" (meaning "son of Manus, son of James Hand"). I guess a predilection for self-referencing names runs in the family.