My full legal name is Reed Erik Spjut. My father’s name was Reed Gunnar Spjut. Growing up I was always called Erik so as not to confuse me with my father. I prefer to be addressed as Erik. I usually sign formal documents as R. Erik Spjut.

The word spjut is the Swedish word for spear or javelin. In Swedish, the letter j is pronounced like the English y in yes. The pronunciation is therefore spyoot which rhymes with cute. I don’t, but there are those who qualify as cute Spjuts. These little Lego spears are also cute spjuts.

When my great grandfather, Otto Albert Malmstedt, was drafted in the Swedish army, his footlocker and bunk had already been stenciled with Spjut, so the army informed him that his name was now Spjut. He kept the name when he left the service. When he and his family emigrated to the United States, some of the sons added an e to the end “to make the name easier to pronounce.” It didn’t work. As far as we can tell, all of the Spjuts or Spjutes in the United Stated are descendents of my great grandfather, and none of the (few) Spjuts in Sweden are closely related to us.