Posts Tagged ‘names’


Humans have this strange urge to name things, whether it is the scientific classifications of all the flora and fauna on our planet; explorers naming countries, islands or mountains after themselves or even the naming (and renaming and re-renaming) of streets and roads.

It gets to the stage where some people will  even start naming inanimate objects because a TV is not a good enough name for a TV it has to be “Stevey the TV”. The car is “Frankie”, the Fridge is “Phil” and the toilet is “Lucy” (Get it? Lucy Loo?). I can’t really complain too much I lived in one house called “Homer” and another called “Millhouse” (big Simpsons fan – although that doesn’t explain my one apartment being called Flatrick Swayze).

The point is people like to name things and I don’t have a problem with this except for two things. The first is alliterative naming conventions. You know plenty of examples even if you’re not one hundred percent sure about what I’m saying. Normally relegated to children’s books and television characters cursed by this clumsy christening include Tommy the Tomato, Christopher the Carrot, Helga the Hippo and several other characters that I’m certain are springing back to life in your recollection.

Why are characters being bound and shackled by their name? Can a Carrot not being more than just 1/26th of the alphabet? Does he not want more? Why be cursed by the constant reminder of his Carroty-ness? There’s more to him than a name a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, just ask Robby the Rose.

I apologise if that first point made very little sense. It’s something that has irked me since I was a small child. I remember asking the omnipotent, omniscient and om-something else teacher why the characters in books always had names that sounded similar to their surnames. (What a precocious little scamp I was.) Why were humans not all named Harry or Harold or Herbert or that’s pretty much all the “H” names I can think of, oh wait, Helen!

To which she responded: “It’s because Santa Claus isn’t real and all your toys aren’t made by elves but by small Chinese children in sweat shops”.

I later found out that it was her last day working there.

More on this next time…


This my best friend…um… wutsisname

I’m really bad with names, I always have been. Maybe that’s why my parents didn’t give me any middle names in case I forgot them. Look, I’m not as bad as my one friend um… Paul? Peter? Um it’s something with a “P”, I’m sure. I’ve tried many different techniques for remembering people’s names from the “using it as you greet them” technique (Hi Paul, pleased to meet you), to the linking them to a physical trait (It’s Paul with the huge nose). I’ve even tried the “tag and release” technique I saw on the Discovery channel, but none seem to work (in fact the last one usually gets me into a bit of trouble).

Has it ever happened to you that you really hit it off with someone you’ve just met, like at a club, and now it’s the time to exchange numbers and you have no clue what their name is? (My phone is filled with names like “blonde girl from varsity” and “brunette from coffee place”). So trying to be smooth I’ll ask something like “So, how do you spell your name?” and it’s always something simple like Jo or Beth.

Or when you walk into a room full of people and have to introduce someone and you forgot their name. “Hi everyone, this is…” at which point you are hoping they introduce themselves.

Sometimes the problem is not actually the remembering, but that you’ve known them for so long it would be too awkward to ask their name. I remember this one girl (whose name escapes me at the moment) who I used to go to ballroom dancing with. You may think that ballroom dancing is kind of nerdy, but when you went to an all-boys school, like I did, you did whatever you could to interact with girls, plus the ratios were awesome (ok talking about “ratios” is pretty nerdy).

Anyway, there was this girl who I would dance with most weeks and we really hit it off and were quite friendly and often spoke about other things besides the usual awkward teenage pleasantries and small talk. This continued for about 3 years and yet I never knew her name. I would always use the classic “hey you” (which is probably the most obvious clue that you don’t know someone’s name, but I thought it was pretty “ninja” back then).

It would get so awkward trying to hear other people call her, but I never managed to hear her name and I’m pretty sure after 3 years you can’t simply pop in the question: “By the way, what is your name?” I even remember I received an invitation to her 18th birthday party (back in the day when you actually received written invitations). “You are cordially invited to my birthday party” Damnit! Why can’t people address invites in the third person anymore!

So I went to her party with a gift that had no tag on it, except “from Gareth” (so “ninja”) except when I got there the mother, who knew I played guitar, asked if I could sing happy birthday to her daughter. It all went fine till the third line of the song when I panicked and smashed the guitar on the table and screamed “ROCK ‘n ROLL BABY!” (“ninja”, I know!) I was a shiny golden god that day.

But worst of all is if you end up sleeping with someone and you can’t remember their name. I usually end up searching their clothes for name tags as they’re lying on the floor (the clothes, not the girls), at which point they normally wake up and ask “Gareth, what are you doing?”

“Ssssh go back to bed Calvin Klein!”

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