If your name is Newton and if they nicknamed you Newt, you have some immediate problems and one unexpected headache.
It's hard enough to introduce yourself as Ev Newton - everyone says, "Hi, Ed" - or Everett Newton - everyone says, "What?" But you can never, ever introduce yourself as Newt Newton.
There are sound linguistic reasons for this prohibition. The name Newton has a "T" in the middle, as proficient readers of English will recognize right away. But when the word "Newton" is pronounced casually and out loud, it invariably comes out as "New - in." As in "uh-oh." That little break in the middle is a glottal stop, which, for the hopeless pedants among us, is also called a voiceless glottal plosive. The glottal stop is that little catchy thing you do with your throat when you say "Hawai'i" (which used to be pronounced "Huh-why-yee," but we are more sophisticated these days). It's science. People whose names are Bob Johnson have no idea that this lingual circus is in town.
So my immediate dilemma is whether to introduce myself as Newton with the correct and formal "T" sound, which by the way is a voiceless alveolar plosive, or with that lazy but comfortable glottal stop, which is what I say to myself when I am pondering how noise comes out of my face. Got that? Good, 'cause now it gets complicated.
The name "Newt," spoken aloud by itself, ends with the aveolar plosive "T". That remains true if "Newt" is followed by a fricative, like "Newt snores" or "Newt farts." So if my name were Newt Harris, I would not be paddling around in this murky linguistic backwater. But if "Newt" is followed by a nasal alveolar, like "N," the brain/mouth connection breaks out in a sweat and a glottal stop ensues. Try it: "Newt Newton." Your frontal cortex wants to put a hard "T" in both slots, but your tongue and your glottis become entangled and you can drown in your own spit trying to pronounce the combination correctly. Anyone who has ever tried to speak German or Welsh understands this.
After walking around the bridge club with a name tag reading "Ev Newton" for a year or so, I decided to drag my nickname out of its phonetic closet. Not wanting to subject everyone to the double-glottal-stop torture of "Newt Newton," I had a name tag made up that reads simply, "Newt":
You can probably see where this is going.
Enter Newton Leroy Gingrich. Remember that headache I mentioned in that first sentence? "Newt Gingrich" has no glottal stop to muck up the lingual works. But walking around in public these days with "Newt" on your chest is an open invitation to ideological engagement. There are no glottal stops in the words "philanderer" or "pompous narcissist" or "walking embodiment of current Republican demagoguery." The name slides out like poop through a goose.
Except this is the Deep South, even during Snowbird Season, and the median age at the bridge club is about 84, so everyone there wants to shake my hand and declaim over the evils of Barack Hussein Obama, whom we all know was born in Togoland with a Commie flag clenched in his tiny satanic fist.
Aw, crap! I've gone off political again.
Well, it's not my fault this time; Newt started it. Anyway, I have ordered a new name tag that reads, "None of Your Damn Business, That's What."