Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What's In A Name?

I think I'll name the one with the funny webbed feet, "Webster", the big brown one, "Neptune", the little brown one, "Olivia Newton John" and the big green one with the spots, "Poseidon".

Jason Mayo - 1981 naming his pet newts

What's in a name?

A person's name can be a very telling.

A name can say volumes about a person's character. A name doesn't always seem to "fit" the person it is attached to. Sometimes you have to grow into a name. Sometimes the name has to grow into you. There are times that a name doesn't live up to the person. Other times, the person doesn't live up to the name.

Most of the time it's a crapshoot.

Unless you're a Greek God or a Prince, it's hard to persuade the masses to accept a name that doesn't fit.

Look at Fonzie. His birth name was Arthur. He ran away from his name and probably struggled his whole life. Eventually, he was able to escape the stigma that was needlessly, saddled upon his leather draped back.

Look at Hercules. His parents were obviously very intuitive. They sensed a strength in their young boy and bestowed upon him a name that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How about Alice Cooper? This one doesn't make much sense at all. In fact, you would think that Mr. Cooper would do whatever was humanly possible to steer clear of his association with this name. Alice is traditionally a girl's name. It's a name given to a protagonist in a fairy tale or a sensitive but tenacious, single mom waitress that tirelessly, works twelve hour shifts in a Truck Stop Diner, in order to support her young son. But oddly enough, it fits Mr. Cooper. The name grew into his persona. His persona grew into the name.

Absolutely fascinating.

These theories and musings, only seem to apply to names and people that border on or go to the extreme.

For instance, if your name is Bill, Anthony, Jane, Louis, Lois, Jeff, Phil, Mary, Steve, Thomas, Cheryl, Dawn, Craig, Tim, Linda, Mike, Dave, Jennifer, Scott, Rory or Pat, no one gives a fuck.

In the fore mentioned examples, it's easy to carry a name. These types of names are simple and quaint and often play second fiddle to the person that inherits them. Most of the time, the name is inconsequential.

The point is, when naming someone or something, it is imperative to consider the circumstances at hand and the long term consequences of these sometimes hasty decisions. You might be making some one's life way more difficult than it needs to be.

Therein lies the rub.

This past weekend, I bought my oldest daughter her first pet.

Its species comes from a genus of lizards called the Pogona.

It is more commonly known as The Bearded Dragon.

It is generally a docile creature but its features are unmistakeably reptilian.

When they mature, they can grow up to two feet in length and appear quite menacing.

A creature of this heritage certainly is deserving of a name suitable of its stature.

My daughter has chosen its moniker.

Allow me to introduce to you...


Sorry pal. Welcome to my world...