Monday, August 25, 2008

What's in a name?

Everything. A good name will open doors and build bridges, and conversely a bad name will close doors, burn bridges and get you made fun of behind your back.

Kids need good names more than anyone. If you name your child a weird and crappy name, you may as well beat them up before you send them off to school and save the bullies the trouble. I won’t give any examples, but some of my friends and family have doomed some of their kids to getting ridiculed for life.

My brother-in-law, Rafa, wants to name his first son “Luigi.” All I know is that if the kid gets word of that through the umbilical cord, all the ultrasounds will be of him shaking his fist at Rafa.

The thing about names is they inevitably shape what the child will become. For example, if you want your kid to grow up to be a full-time pot smoker, just name him or her something like “Sunshine” or “Marley.”

Businesses need good names too. A business should say what it does, you know? Like naming a hamburger place “McDonald’s” is just stupid and could confuse a potential hamburger consumer. Luckily for obese people everywhere, McDonald’s has done well in spite of a poor name choice, but places that came after have learned from their mistakes, choosing more straightforward names like “Burger King” and “Taco Bell.”

Certain places have names that just make me not want to give them my business. For example, there is a restaurant called “The Blue Burrito”. Sick. A blue burrito? That’s just unappetizing. First of all, how did the burrito turn blue? I don’t plan on ever finding out.

There’s another place called “OK Automotive.” No way. If I’m gonna pay somebody a bunch of money to fix my car, they better do a heck of a lot better job than just “OK”. And just down the street there is another place called “OK Brakes,” which sounds more to me like “OK Car Accidents.”

I saw a billboard for “Pay Less Homes.” Don’t get me wrong, I like to save money. I will “Pay Less” for shoes all day long, but a home is not something I really want to skimp on.

Some places have misleading names, like “Discount Tires”. I went there and bought some tires and when I went to pay I said, “I would like a discount please.”

They were like “Do you have a coupon? Do you have a family member who works for Discount Tires? Are you a senior citizen?”

I said, “No, but this is Discount Tires, man. Gimme a discount.”

They didn’t give me a discount. But I did drink a bunch of their complimentary lobby coffee, though. Well, I would have if I drank coffee. Instead I just poured everyone else in the lobby a cup, even if they didn’t want one.

And I stole every single straw.