By Any Other Name…

Names are a big deal in my business.  You have to have legal names for air ticketing, names for namebadges, nameplates for dinner seating, names on awards – sometimes one person can have four different names in these situations. 

Over the years, I’ve seen some doozies.  One couple asked for “Chief” and “Boots” on their badges – the client said no.  I’ve had requests for Princess, Houdini, Sport, even the Big Lebowski.  Several times participants have “exaggerated” their titles when they register for programs.  It’s always pretty clear when someone’s title shows up a President of their company.  I did have someone once type in “Grand Exalted Poombah” – guess he thought we didn’t really need the information and he could have some fun. 

The best name I ever came across was Waightstill Scales.  His nickname was Booger. And the company that he worked for had an award named after him since he was their top salesperson of all time.  The Booger Scales award.  And his namebadge?  You guessed it, Booger Scales.  I kid you not.  I think you’d have to be really confident to carry that name your whole life and then to give it to your son, whose nickname was Waighty.  Waighty Scales.  I swear, I am not making this up.

What’s the funniest actual name you’ve heard of someone having?

53 thoughts on “By Any Other Name…”

  1. I worked for a student loan guarantor shortly after college – another job that allows you to see all of the names that people visit upon their offspring. There was an informal list that we kept in our department as we saw good ones. Mary/Merry/Meri Christmas showed up in a variety of spellings. Richard Nixon (different middle initial) declared bankruptcy – I got to process his claim. But the one that really stands out is “Tijuana Hooker.” Ms. Hooker had gotten a loan to attend beauty school – it was a for-profit school, so it’s possible hers was a fraudulent loan as hers was a loan to a school that the Dept. of Education removed from the loan program due to high default rates (usually an indicator that the school was not providing the education it claimed, and/or that it was a school that filed loans on behalf of its students – real or fictional – and pocketed the money without either hosting that student in a classroom or ensuring they never graduated…). The poor dear, it’s also possible that she pronounced her first name differently than we might think – perhaps Tee-JAW-Nah – I never talked to her on the phone. I hope she was real, I hope she actually graduated and got her beautician’s license, and I hope she is out there somewhere providing the most amazing ‘dos for the women of her community.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. There used to be someone in the Minneapolis phone book named Smoky Pitts. My favorite historical name, which I run across from time to time, is Preserved Fish.

    At the last company I worked, we once ran a small contest to promote one of our book products. The winner was a woman somewhere out west named Garda Slorp. It was such a horrible, unlikely name, I actually did a little research to ascertain it was genuine and not someone pulling a prank.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I don’t think any of us these days would think preserved meant preserved from sin And wasn’t considered all that unusual of a name back then. We’re all just thinking about fish in the freezer.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I love some of the old Puritan names in my family tree: Deliverance Potter, Delight Green, Prudence Marche. You can’t make this stuff up. Every other Puritan female was named Hannah or Elizabeth.

      Liked by 6 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I am always ambivalent about names like this: I find them incredibly entertaining and funny, yet I feel like being saddled with one of these names has to be so difficult for the one with the name. My brother-in-law is named Hiram Philo. His brothers are Hayes and Cassius. They grew up in Alaska where that name fit right in. But now he lives in Iowa, a recently retired cardiac nurse beloved by many.

    In college I knew a Spring Day and a basketball player in the position of center named “Bubba” as his given name. He was 7 feet tall and really his only skill was standing in front of the basket and blocking balls. He was very “Bubba-ish”-silent and looming and slow. I once encountered someone with a first name of “Skeeter Bob.”

    I also met a woman named Mary Smith, such a common name. And Kristen Johnson from Wisconsin and on and on.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. A friend of my mom’s is Mary Jones – probably hard to convince folks that she’s not using the example names on forms (and probably why she often includes her middle/maiden name as well). She gave her offspring good Welsh names to go with the plain-ish Welsh surname.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. To tie in with Kristen, I knew a Steve Portsmouth from Portsmouth. His was the only family I’ve known or heard of with that surname. He told me he was once visiting a factory complex, in either a management or sales capacity. As he drove in, a request came over the PA, for Steve Portsmouth to report to the office. He went to said office, to discover it was a different Steve Portsmouth they were looking for. (They might even have been asking for a Steve Portsmouth from Portsmouth. I don’t remember. But that would be pushing it a bit)

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Was a student in our school system for one day: Prairie Fire Day Wind. Her parents got arrested for growing marijuana in the woods and she was taken ouit of the school that afternoon by county human services. We never did figure out what was first middle and last in thos names.

      Liked by 6 people

  4. Out here there are quite a few boys from ranch and rodeo families with first names of Chance and Rowdy. I guess they are just getting them set up to be bull riders.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. My given name of Stewart Fenton Basil is the most awful, embarrassing name I ever heard of. Basil. God’s sake. My sister Jane has been married twice, but has reverted to her surname of Basil both times. I ditched the name legally in my late thirties, and am now simply Stewart Fenton. I couldn’t pass on a name like that.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Tom and Ray from Car Talk used to enjoy their callers names more than anyone else I knew.
    Arrupp Guupta was one they liked.

    Boutros Boutros Ghali tends to stick in my head some days.

    My mom talks about someone she knew as a kid named Valentine Neuman. I love that name; I hope I can use it in a script some day.

    I can’t remember most peoples names so nothing sticks out in my memory.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Naming cows was always kinda fun. Or challenging… some day I just didn’t have it in me to name another calf.
      I did have Mary and her calf Merri. I had a calf born when the comet ‘Hale-Bobb’ was around so that’s what that calf got named.
      Bull calves didn’t get named very often because they got sold. The girls were expected to be around for multiple years.
      I named one Antigone (we had just done the play) (An-TIG-onee)
      When I sold the cows, at the Auction barn the auctioneer struggled with that name finally calling her ‘Anti -Gone’. I called out ‘Antigone! Daughter of Oedipus from Greek mythology”… crickets… and one guy behind me leaned up and said “I don’t think they get that”. I appreciated the fact that at least that guy did. (I’m assuming).
      I had a cow named Lynn for ‘Lynn Warfel from MPR. It really was an honor to have a cow named for you. She loved it.

      My Grandmother on Dad’s side was ‘Ernestina’. Dad was Joseph Ernesteven, and my brother is Ernest Steven; I’ve always liked that.
      We had a couple Maury’s and Carls in the family and it was hard to keep track of which Maury or Carl we were talking about.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I’ve probably worked harder than I needed to in naming all the animals at our house. Scarlet, Sorcha, Baron, Thorin, Tristan, Zorro, Rhiannon, Nimue and Guinevere. Oh snd Sheldon (the fish) Although technically Baron and Zorro came with their names.

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Dad got a new boss who put together a new herd for Dad to milk. We decided to call all of this year’s herd names beginning with “A”. Next year’s would be “B” etc. It took some doing back then, names were supposed to be conventional, and there weren’t too many to choose from. I’d never heard of “Ania” but we were getting desperate. Dad left the job within a year. I hadn’t been worried about the “B’s”, but it was a relief we never got to “X.”

        Liked by 3 people

  7. The book ‘Cider House Rules’ talks about the nurses naming the orphans and how some days inspiration ran low. ‘Homer Wells’ because one of their dads dug wells. ‘Fuzzy’ who had the bad lungs. ‘Melony’ due to a fortunate typo because there was nothing melodious about her…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A colleague was born in 1943. His mother died giving birth. Father did it name him or pick him up for a few months.staff named him Skippy. County pestered to have birth certificate completed. So staff made it formal. No One ever corrected it

      Liked by 4 people

  8. People who own sled dogs often struggle to come up with enough new names. A musher might own 100 dogs, and one of the few ways of bringing money in was by breeding sled dogs. Given the fertility and gestational issues involved, a sled dog operation might need two or three or even four dozen new names each year.

    Some sled dog folks solved the problem of generating new names by using themes. Friends of mine one spring named dogs after international political figures, which is how they ended up with a star sled dog named Gorby (for Gorbachev). One spring they named named puppies after country western singers (Hank, Dolly, Emmylou, Johnny Cash, etc.).

    Liked by 4 people

  9. One of my former students who used to hang out in my room commented when she heard about Sandy said that she and I are the reason she is a writer. Indeed she is. Has a few books published. So I finally have a former student who is a published writer, not counting more limited audience publishing

    Liked by 5 people

  10. My great grandfather, Jake Boomgaarden, had 12 children. He died fairly young and left his widow with several thousand acres of prime Northwest Iowa farm land. Many of his children named one son Jake, just to butter up their mother so remember them in her will. There must have been about 6 Jake Boomgaardens in the area, my father being one of them. They were called Louie’ s Jake, Albert’s Jake, Bill’s Jake, Ed’s Jake, etc., just to let people know what Jake you were talking about.

    Liked by 5 people

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