Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's in a Name?

I am always thinking about names. It's hard to name a child something that isn't already used by many others. And you don't want to make something up either. My child is my dog.

When I named her "Scout," I thought it was creative. Based on the young character in the classic, "To Kill a Mockingbird," I was pretty sure I had named my dog like no other dog owner before me. And boy, was I wrong.

In the past year, my building has housed three Scouts. Two of them golden retrievers.

You can always find it irritating when people don't "get" your name. I have been called an exuberant number of different names when introducing myself. From Janeanne to Janice to Amy and beyond. That's why I finally figured out if I say, "Janie like Janie's got a gun by Aerosmith", that seems to work.

Now, for Scout, I get a lot of "whats?" I have tried the "From To Kill a Mockingbird," but disappointingly enough, in the nine years I have had her, there have been too many times when people let me down by indicating that they have no clue what I am talking about. (And not everyone knows Aerosmith, either. But that's ok). So instead, I say "Scout. She's my girlscout." That clears it up.

So, many years ago, I determined a "Man Quiz." When flirting or on a date with a guy, if I tell him my dog's name and he replies, "Oh, did you get that from To Kill a Mockingbird?" he has passed one of my IQ tests. (There are about four. That's for another posting).

Through the years, it is mildly mind boggling that so many people do not know classic literature. And when a couple arrived at our regular dog park and introduced "Franny," their black lab, I asked if they were Salinger fans. They were. And as we discussed Holden Caufield, Nine Stories and his recent death, the Chicago couple told me there was a Zooey canine down the street from their old house in Chicago. They said when they met the dog, they replied, "This is Franny!" and the neighbors with Zooey were like, "Yeah?" "They didn't know the novel," they told me. "Who doesn't know Salinger?!" I gasped. (I am glad my parents kept three or four of his books in our basement which I read one summer). I am also glad that I go to a well-read dog park where we name our dogs after fictional characters from well known authors.

And on that note, my aunt and uncle just told me that their grandson's middle name is Rhett and it only makes them think of Rhett Butler. About a week later, I met a young guy who introduced himself to me as "Rhett, like Rhett Butler." "I bet you haven't heard that you're entire life," I said to him facetiously. "Yeah, right," he joked back.


  1. To Kill a Mockingbird is beautiful :)

  2. Try being a teacher and naming a child!