Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Roshashana By Any Other Name

Some quick, random thoughts on tags.

One of the two TV programs Michelle and I watch together with some religiosity is "Pawn Stars" (the other is "Wipe Out").  For those of you who have not seen Pawn Stars, but have seen "Antique Roadshow," I would call the former a juiced up, lower-brow version of the latter in which unusual and rare stuff is valued by an expert while the nervous owner waits.  One of the characters in Pawn Stars is "Chumley."  Chum is an oafish sort of loser type and compared with the others on the program, his bulb clearly burns dimmest.  Makes me wonder which came first, the name or the oaf?  Did Chumley live "down" to the name and become its incarnation?  Or, was he born "Bob" and just sorta morphed into a "chumley" kinda guy?

In our local newspaper a few weeks ago, I happened to notice a squib in which two individuals from Jackson, Mississippi, tried to run down a cop after they had been discovered shoplifting.  They were soon caught and one of the culprits was named "Latrina." I once knew a black man in Kansas who owned a barbecue joint.  His last name escapes me but his first name still sticks: "Molesta."  With tags like those, what hope is there?  What in God's name were the parents thinking?  I've also noticed--in a patent attempt to find the most unusual names possible--the rage among many black mothers to apply almost impossible tags to their infants.  "De'La'Ke'Shawn?"  "Tai-Kwon-do?" "LaQuinntasha?"  Do these parents realize the trouble they are heaping on their kids, who must repeat and spell out these names every time they apply for anything or announce themselves to strangers?  One must also factor the time and energy lost by public servants who must slowly take down these absurd names.  It's okay to be different--in fact, I encourage it--but be different without being difficult.  I learn that one of the more popular names for little black girls is "Unique." When "Unique" becomes about as unique as "Shenika" I guess it is back to the drawing board.  I have also heard that somewhere out there, navigating her way through this cruel world, there is a little "Vagina."

Some nut case went mental in the office of our local "anger control" clinic a month ago.  His first name?  "Friendly." 

Off the top, a few actual names that I have encountered:

Ron Chauvin 
Tom Balding
Bruce Messing
Steve Pigg
Brian Hogg
Harry Dick
Seymour H. Kochs ("H", of course, for Harry)

Hmmmm.  Michelle and I saddle up tomorrow eve and take a sundown ride into the palms and palmettos.  One of the Greek names for horse translates into erratic, unpredictable.  An aptly named beast indeed, and in this case the horse clearly came before the cart.  Let me hope that my normally staid steed does not live down to that tag tomorrow.


  Car of the Future