Sunday, February 14, 2010

What's in a name?

Quote of the blog:

Gaby’s friend: “If the word Latrine had a different definition I would use it for a baby name. Think about it. Isn’t it pretty? Say it slowly. Latrine.”


While listening to a radio show about funny names I thought about some of the people I’ve known: The Wood siblings, Cherry and Aspen, who went to school with my brother, Rhoda who married a Pigg (Mr.), and my mom’s childhood neighbor Newborn Butt (who by that time was far from newborn). During my musings a caller rang in: “I know a Shanda Lear!” The radio hosts couldn’t believe it and neither could I since Shanda is my cousin, and no, that’s not a married name.

I could have called in the name of a young man our family went to church with years ago. I was nine when I knew him. His name was Burk Gurr (say it out loud). He started dating a girl named Amber. I had great hopes that they’d marry. Wouldn’t it be amazing to hear them introduce themselves as Burk Gurr and Amber Gurr? It was a match made in heaven - or maybe Burkgurr King (sorry, I couldn’t help it).

My second semester of college I had a neighbor named Jenna Cobia. The first time I heard her name I thought it was a disease: jennacobia. That idea stuck. None of my seven roommates really knew Jenna, but we frequently tossed around phrases like, “Are you feeling ok? Do you have jennacobia?” And “I can’t go to class today (cough, cough) I think I caught jennacobia.”

It probably wouldn’t have caused any problems if it weren’t for one infamous evening. A bunch of us from church went on a huge group date to a Mongolian BBQ place. Couples stood on each side of the buffet and selected dishes they wanted barbequed. As my roommate Mandy filled her bowl her date nudged her arm and pointed at an unidentifiable dish, teasing her to try it. She exclaimed, “I’m not eating that! I don’t want to contract jennacobia!” She looked up and saw Jenna standing directly across from her. It was an awkward moment.

Amy, my good friend and old roommate, served an LDS mission in upstate New York. She and her companion were in Dillard’s when she saw a little girl skipping near the makeup counters. The girl stopped and pointed at the signs at one counter and said proudly, “That’s my name, that’s my name.” A moment later her mom yelled, “Cliniqwah! Get over here!” Same spelling. Different pronunciation.

When my friend Benton visited New York he told me one of the best name stories I’ve heard in a long time. He’s a dentist in Florida and not too long ago he picked up a chart before seeing a patient. He noticed the first name was La-e. How would you pronounce that name? Laeh? Layee? Lahay? He wasn’t sure how to pronounce it either. Well, it turns out her name is pronounced LaDASHa! LaDASHa!! The hyphen isn't silent! La-e is pronounced LaDASHa!

You know, maybe her parents are on to something there. People could save a lot of time and ink by incorporating logograms and symbols into their writing. We could have Margaret Th@cher or : Powell. You could write phrases like Waltzing Ma~ or my car has been im#ded.

All I know is that when I have a girl I’m naming her Ellipses and I’ll spell it … .


  1. Too funny! You made me laugh out loud. Miss you!

  2. You should send this out. Seriously. This miiiiiight be the sharpest thing I've seen you do. The humor value is cranked to 11. Well-played.

  3. My parents used to be friends with a family whose last name was Rabbit and they named their kids Peter, Jack, and Bunny.

  4. My ex-husband's name is Mike Weir - "my queer"!

  5. In high school one of my classmates name was Nate Snow. He swore that when he had kids he was going to name them Yellow and Brown.

  6. We called my parents Cory con Carna and thought of chili. But thats not as funny. I'm glad you're funny though. :)

  7. hehe. Thanks for sharing other great names! I love them!

  8. She'll never be able to find tacky souvenirs with her name on them... just a warning. Story of my life!

  9. When I heard this story it was third hand already, so I definitely can't verify its accuracy. But it's probably true (Tamara D was with me at the time, she remember who supposedly experienced this). Anyway, here goes:

    A woman was waiting at a NYC DMV to get her license. A voice comes over the intercom: "Shady Nasty, your license is ready."

    A few minutes later, the voice again: "Shady Nasty, your license is ready." Apparently Shady isn't paying attention.

    A few minutes later: "Is Shady Nasty here?" A woman goes up to the window, and in classic Ricki Lake audience member-voice shouts, "I KNOW you didn't just call me Shady Nasty. It's Sha-Dynasty!"

  10. Poor Jenna Cobia.... I heard she almost killed herself from the ridicule... Poor girl.

    For the record, there was a girl in my high school named Amanda Fillerup. And no, I'm not lying.

    I think she had jennacopia though. It was tragic.

  11. Ellipses is plural. You should name her Ellipsis. Now that I think about it, I think I'm coming down with a mild case of Ellipsis . . .