In his travels around the world, Michael has found a strange tendency for people to call him by his full name instead of his first name as in: “Hi, Michael Lee!” or, turning to a neighbor, “Michael Lee was telling me…”
Alternately it also seems people are fond of calling Michael “Mr. Lee” more than other men get that style moniker. Perhaps it’s the shortness of the surname that makes people want to add something up front.
This has resulted in an all-too-common question hurled at Michael: “But you don’t look Korean, or Chinese?”
Such questions would frustrate Michael a bit, if he tended to get frustrated. Never mind, he would say, the long list of non-Asians with the surname Lee, notably Civil War General Robert E Lee, filmmaker Spike Lee, Spiderman creator Stan Lee, Motley Crue drummer and multiple boytoy Tommy Lee, and whacko 1970s Boston Red Sox pitcher Bill “Spaceman” Lee, just to name a few auspicious United States of Americans and not even to look at other countries. Not to mention the other Wikipedia entry that states very clearly that Lee is “a common English surname.”
All of this is a bit glib, because Mr. Lee’s surname in this case is NOT a common English or American surname but in reality is indeed a shortened version of a Ukrainain Jewish name (see “Menachem Mendel”), that he does not know (so don’t ask), truncated by careless pre-conscious unwoke government officials on Ellis Island sometime around the turn of the 20th century. In other words, an immigrant-unfriendly guillotining of a Slavic Levite reversioning. It places him squarely in the Levite branch of the Tribes, but that’s about all he knows, unfortunately.
Our Mr Lee is not in fact related to Stan, Spike, Bill, or any of those guys listed on this page, though he’s proud to share a name with some of them.
Oh, and a note to East Europeans especially, especially Romanian taxi drivers who have a Tasmanian Devil frozen in amber as their gear shift handle: No, Mr. Lee is also not Michael Jackson.
However, if you do have any great Michaels or Mr Lees you want to add to the panoply, please do send us a message below, including the name of another great Mr Lee or Michael you want to share.
And if YOUR name is Mr Lee do not hesitate to reach out!