Just for the hell of it

An Australian boy was denied admission to a Catholic school because his last name is "Hell" and school officials want to be as far away from that as possible.

The youngster’s dad, 45-year-old Alex Hell, has expressed outrage after the primary school in the southern city of Melbourne allegedly refused to admit his son, Max.
"We are victims of our name," said Hell, whose name is of Austrian origin.
"We’re quite devastated by the whole thing," the Catholic father of three told the Australian Associated Press. "It’s 2007, not 1407 — it’s not the Dark Ages." [

It was the spring of 1407 and Principal Michael was enrolling children at St. Paul’s Holy School for Little Angels.

Principal: "Good mornin’ to ya. I see you’ve brought your little boy for school. What’s the lad’s name?"

Father: "Hell."

Principal: "I beg ya pardon?"

Father: "Hell. His name’s Hell. That’s his last name."

Principal (shaking head): "What’s his first name?"

Father: "Goto."

Principal: "Goto Hell? Is this some kind of joke?"

Father: "No, we’re from the old country. ‘Goto’ and ‘Hell’ are common names in the old country."

Principal: "Well, you’d better take the lad back to the old country, otherwise we might have to lock him up in our dungeon. Who’s next?"

Mother: "It’s me, Principal Michael. I brought my little girl for school."

Principal: "Wonderful! What’s her name?"

Mother: "Jenny. That’s her first name"

Principal: "Beautiful name. What’s her last name?"

Mother: "Tailya."

Principal: "Jenny Tailya? Is this some kind of joke? Get out of here before I wring your neck. Who’s next?"

Father: "It’s me, Principal Michael. I’ve brought my little girl for school."

Principal: "Wonderful! What’s her name?"

Father: "Ho. That’s her first name. We adopted her from China."

Principal (shakes head): "Ho? What’s her last name?"

Father: "Ness. That’s our family name."

Principal (still shaking head): "Ho Ness. I don’t think I can enroll her with a name like ‘Ho.’"

Father: "We usually use her middle name too. It’s Lee."

Principal (smiling): "Lee? Wonderful! Welcome to your new school, Ho Lee Ness!"

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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