I developed a hatred for neckties in my youth, when I worked for several years in a bookstore that required me to wear at all times a big plastic name tag and a tie — even though I did most of my work in the stock room. (Once I severed the lower reaches of a tie while opening a box of books with a box cutter.) I would regularly loosen the tie so as not to be choked as I was bending and lifting, and my manager would just as regularly order me to tighten it again.

I took out my frustrations on these requirements by wearing on my name tag the name RASKOLNIKOV. Then one day a lady came up to me as I was shelving books, gently touched my arm, beamed at me, and said in a near-whisper, “It’s so brave of you not to Anglicize your name.”