It’s a funny thing: in my work, I repeatedly see names of people whom I have never met.  Some are hysterical (I’d love to give some examples but discretion is the better part of valor), some are mellifluous, some are common, some are abrupt, some are odd in other ways… 

Do you ever think objectively about your name?

Carol is becoming the Edna of my youth–a dated name that says old lady.  Oh well!

When I was a bank teller in LA, a customer came to my window with a check made out to me.  I stammered and stuttered and protested that she should make the check payable to Cash or to Security Pacific but not to me!  She tilted her head, squinted her eyes, stared me down, and replied  “Whachuu talkin’ bout?  That’s mah nay-eem!”  

My real question is this: do you hear a name and form an idea of the person who owns the name?   Isn’t it weird how our preconception almost never matches reality?

Free TBOI (tasty bit of information):  Ecuador is named after the Equator.  How could I have just learned that for the first time today?


15 thoughts on “Names

  1. I’m afraid that I do form ideas about people based on names.  There is even a baby name book out there with the most common perceptions people have regarding names.  Shame on me for forgetting what it is called.  However, it is very fun to look up your name and those of your loved ones and see what the most common “first impressions” are!

  2. This reminds me of when I used to watch Jay Leno on Monday nights and he showed funny last names of couples who got married–there were some I just could hardly believe. I do know there was a family when I was growing up with the last name “Butts” and they even owned a bakery called “Butts Bakery,” and we always felt sorry for them! However, as you know, with my maiden name I wanted to marry someone named Smith or Jones, but Crawford was pretty durn close!And in the same vein, I know that sometimes I envision someone a certain way just from hearing their voice on the phone and then when I meet them, am entirely surprised that they don’t look like what I’d imagined! Aren’t we silly?

  3. Like you, I see names and numbers all day…. and I do see unusual combinations.  Stuff that stays in my head when I wish I could remember more importants phrases, like the words to favorite hymns.Now, however, the volume of name combinations is so great and the increased number of duplicates, i.e. Mary Smith, that I actually get confused Pearlean…. is a name I’ve been introduced to since working at the practice.

  4. Since learning to speak Portuguese I’m amazed at how names can be ugly in one language and beautiful in another.  Eunice is old-fashioned in English, but mellifluous (your word) in Portuguese (It’s four syllables!)  The name Laura in English has a male equivalent in Portuguese (Lauro) and the name Bruno has a female equivalent (Bruna).  Names are fascinating in any language! 

  5. A few months ago I met an elderly lady named after her father.  Her name was Wilberlene.  My name is also an “Edna,” Carol!  I joke that I can tell within a few years the age of any woman named Susan, Karen, Donna, Laura, Debbie, Carol, Beth, Diane, etc.  But it’s true that most names have a shelf life of about 5 to 10 years.  Then they’re definitely dated!

  6. When I worked full-time, the fix-it guy for the company was Johnny Screws and the top Sales Rep was Mike Lush.  Good for a laugh even on Mondays!I once went to a wedding where the bride was Green and the groom, Winter.  The ushers passed out breathmints as we came in- Wintergreen flavor, of course!Names sure are fun!

  7. There is a Dr. Bonebreak in our area; also a Flatt Tire service. When I worked in a nursing home many years ago, I cared for a lady named Illinois Pocock. I’ve never forgotten her or her name because it was so unusual.  My own last name is very common but I seek to live in such a way as to do it honor.

  8. Random thoughts:In the journal “First Things” the editor would do a story each year of the top ten baby names in the country. Year in and year out they would note that strong and traditional names were picked for boys and trivial, “pop” names were picked for girls. My wife would never have let me do it, but I think that there are an incredible number of cool and unusual Scandinavian names – Bgita, Anneke, Else, Gunnar, Mia, Liv, Linae.(Maybe if we’d had a dozen kids.) Unfortuantely many of the strong boys names are after the pagan, Norse god. Not sure I’d want to go there.The other name I thought about that she didn’t go for was a Wallowa County name – Lostine. What a gorgeous name for a girl. One evening long ago my friend Rick and I spent the evening trying to come up with oxymoron names for Wallowa County businesses, eg. “Whiskey Creek Baptist Church”, “Lightning Creek Fire Department”, “Lostine Search and Rescue”, “Enterprise Welfare Department” – you get the idea.

  9. Carol – Song of Joy!  I’ve noticed that I rarely meet a Carol who is younger than me….they are almost always at least a few years older than me…and I’m 49!  I”ve also noticed Carol’s tend to be a bit….well…..eccentric.  I’ve NOT noticed that about you….but I myself have to admit to…at least a tad bit of it.  Yep, I find myself surprised that my name is becoming an Edna….as is my sister’s name, Connie. And my best friend…Kathy. My eldest daughter has always loved names….I get things addressed to the funniest names for things she has signed up for on-line.  I used to find lists of names…on her math assignments.  With my son…it’s baseball and football player names lists….on his math assignments!

  10. Okay, the last post just reminded me of yet one more thing. My youngest daughter signed up for a magazine (just recently!) under the name “Ariel Diamond.” She’s 22. What a hoot!

  11. yes, I do! especially if the (unknown) face behind the name is somebody my young adult (read daughter) is “seeing/going out with/ having fun with/will introduce him at a stage I think is necessary” —– then a name becomes a necessary tool to cut through to the truth… then there’s a wealth of info in a name or do we call it parent wisdom?  

  12. I always wished I could find another name like Joy’s name is to her, one like “Prudence”- who wouldn’t want a prudent daughter?  But, unfortunately, I think it could back fire…. 

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