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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Beaglehole or Turdblossom?

Some of us have names that are easily transferable with a few letter substitutions to something derogatory. Changing the B to an F in Buckley, for instance. Lived with that my whole life. I was actually amused to hear 11 year old students whisper it. Like they thought it was original. And oh so naughty and rebellious. Nothing cracked me up more than to have former students tell me about something I allegedly did that they either made fun of, or thought was funny or cool or even pissed them off. It's a weird form of time travel.

But this is about names. Andy Borowitz did a funny piece on White House nick names a couple of days ago. Strangely, he didn't mention Turd Blossom, a term of endearment Dubya has for Rove. I don't try to understand these guys. A story out of my new favorite place to plan a visit, New Zealand, got me thinking about this. 10%MyAssSeems some college students are demonstrating by mooning explicit messages to the administration. "10% My Ass" was penned on the bum of one student. Referring to a raise in college fees, not a reduction in the size of the lad's ass. But the really amusing part is the college official who was quoted. His name is, Chancellor Tim Beaglehole. This, in the same story with the word "bum," is just too wildly suggestive. But even alone it is a name that should have been discarded at the age of reason. Say five generations ago.

I had a teaching partner at SUNY New Paltz who often mused about her pals Lipshitz, Fuchs and Horshack or something I think they were all friends out of desperation or some form of self-deprecating high comedy. The question is, should family pride win out over an open invitation to the entire human race to ridicule you because of your name? Here's a fun site that swears most of the names are real.

If my name were Hugh Jass or Dick Trickle, it wouldn't be for long, I can assure you. I'd change it right after I had my parents arrested for abuse. It's the last names that amaze me because there are years of opportunities to change a name like Badcock or Bunnyface or Cock or Bullock.

If you had am easily ridiculed last name, would you change it? Or would it depend on how much trouble it gave you?

posted by Bud @ 5:04 AM

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