Destiny or Just Blog Fodder?

by Lorna's Voice
Oh, didn't I tell you about the time I went over Niagara Falls in a barrel? I must have left that story out of my book. I couldn't include all of my bad decisions in one book!

Oh, didn’t I tell you about the time I went over Niagara Falls in a barrel? I must have left that story out of my book. I couldn’t include all of my bad decisions in one book!

I was invited to a college class this week to talk about my memoir. The class was about childhood trauma and authenticity. Not a very comical topic, but the professor saw a write-up about me in the local newspaper and had the students buy my book as required reading for her class. She asked me if I would come to the class so her students could meet the author and ask me questions–something they couldn’t do with the authors of their other required readings, many who were long dead or otherwise unavailable.

One of the questions a student asked me was, “Why do you think the meanings of names is so important?”

Um. 'Nuff said.

Um. ‘Nuff said.

I really had to think about that one. I do think names carry weight, and I clearly indicated that in my book–even my book’s subtitle (The Adventures of a Girl Whose Name Means Lost). But why?

–Superstition?

–Overactive childhood imagination that never turned off?

–Brilliantly insightful observation by an intelligent blonde?

–Gut feeling?

I answered her with something like, “I just always felt in my gut that names carried with them some kind clue about the person. There are names that seem to command respect and others that seem nerdy; names that are unusual and names that forgettable. I always noticed when a name seemed to fit or not fit a person.” She seemed satisfied.

But I kept thinking about it. Do our names shape our lives?

Take, for example, this political ad I saw on a trip I made in 2010. Maybe a man with this last name should not be running for political office.

Or maybe he could have worded his campaign sign differently...

Or maybe he could have worded his campaign sign differently…

And think about these people who ended up in the following professions (these are real people):

–Sue Yoo is a lawyer.

–Ted F. Kadivar, MD is a general surgeon.

–Brad Slaughter is the meat manager in a grocery store.

–David Spitz, DDS is a dentist.

Do you know someone whose name is just too ironic for the profession they are in? Please share!

Would you feel safe?

Would you feel safe?

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17 Responses to “Destiny or Just Blog Fodder?”

  1. Well, Lorna. I had a business associate whose name (for real) was Lionel Lillicrap. I only spoke to him over the phone but I heard he was a pretty good fighter.

  2. John De Want… always wondered what he wanted…

  3. Some people are just asking for mockery aren’t they, I mean if your name is Ben Dover, you don’t make your slogan “A name you can trust!”

    • Ben, a trustworthy name if ever I heard one! Whatever are you talking about, Vanessa? 😉 I know, I know, he is kind of asking for it…oh! I didn’t mean that like it sounded it! 😐

  4. Hmmm . . . I always thought names are like looks . . . they shape you by the way people react to them.

    I don’t think it’s right, but that’s the kind of society we live in.

    Apparently, my name means “rival”, and ranks low (I assume they mean popularity). I’ve had to live under the shadow of both my name, and the way I look, and to this day the scars bleed at the slightest picking.

    OK, I kid about the last part . . . I’m actually hoping to redefine the meaning to my name, and have it come to mean “loner”, or “solitary”, “independent”, or . . . “disperser”.

    • Yes, I had issues with my name, but now I kind of like that my name means “Lost.” One can get lost in thought or lost in bliss. It feels both enigmatic and filled with possibility (hopefully like me). 🙂

  5. There’s one urologist I know of whose last name in English would be “Pee” 😀 Seriously.

  6. Mr. Peter Nuss changed his name to…ready?…Paul! Go figure.

  7. I’m not sure what this man’s profession was but here goes anyway…Rollin A. Snowball. I worked for an insurance company and saw a lot of odd names…..the WORST was my boss when I was a teen-ager…V.D. Crabbs.

  8. Well … Congratulations on the invite to speak at the school that is quite an honor.
    I knew someone named John Walker but everyone called him Johnny Walker. Don’t
    think he thought that was a bad nickname. He started introducing himself that way
    for laughs and shock value. Thought provoking post …

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