A rose by any other name

"Hello, Diane? This is Crash, I need to reschedule our meeting for next week. Some of my reporters missed their deadlines. And, I'm struggling to get the paper out to the printers on time."

This was the second time my interview for a potential part-time job had been postponed, but I did not despair. Having experienced the chaos of production deadlines, I could understand the editor's dilemma. This wasn't a reflection oh his desire to meet with me. I am certain that at a convenient time in the near future, I'll get my interview and, hopefully, the gig as a wannabe reporter on the entertainment beat.

But here is what I don't get. Who the hell names their kid "Crash"? Was Crash that bad of a fetus, knocking at his mother's womb like kick boxer? Was he named in honor of his particularly bad delivery at birth? There has to be an explanation. What mother would ever look into their child’s eyes and think, "He looks like a Crash. Let's put it on the birth certificate?"

It just doesn't happen.

My guess is that this editor's mother had nothing to do with his name, and that Crash MacDougal is a name of his own invention. After all, many great writers took on pen names. Alexey Maximovich Pskov wisely chose Maxim Gorky; while Samuel Clemmons thought Mark Twain had a better ring to it. Others, such as Emily Bronte (A.K.A. Ellis Bell) or Robert Allen Zimmerman (A.K.A Bob Dylan) invented names to hide their gender or to conceal their family origin.

Maybe Editor Joe Shmoe just didn't evoke the sort of image this man needed. A mere Clark Kent, he went for a name reserved for a Super Hero. Perhaps he thought that Crash MacDougal would sell more papers than whatever his given name. After all, a name change worked for 50 Cent, whose album sales number in the millions. Really, would the rapper's sales be as high if he had kept his birth name--Curtis Jackson?

So, what's with Crash? I'm dying to meet the man behind the name. My guess is that I'll be sorely disappointed. Experience from my days in radio tells me that the image a name evokes is almost the polar opposite of the reality. Back when I was an announcer, many listeners said they were surpised by my appearance, having always pictured me as being a short, plump brunette. (I'm still trying to understand that one.)

Regardless, rather than the image of a suave, dangerous, James Bond type, I have visions of meeting an overweight, disheveled, chain smoker with long, greasy hair and the fashion sense of Jerry Garcia. Not that it really matters. So long as he is a good editor and, more importantly, hires me, Crash can call himself anything he wants.


Jamy said...

I once had a student (when I was a TA) named "Tripp." He was a lazy, spaced out tennis player...and I guess I thought his nickname had something to do with that. Sadly, it turns out "Tripp" is like "Trey"--you get it when you are "III" (aka "John Smith, III"). I'm sure there's a better story behind "Crash," though.

kenju said...

It will be fun to know the story behind "Crash". I remember a radio personality in my home town known as "Uncle Bert". He had a glorious voice and we girls all imagined him to be as beautiful as he sounded. Imagine our chagrin when he turned out to be the poster boy for acne meds.

Siryn said...

He probably got it from some boneheaded thing he did in college and liked the sound. Or maybe it's meant to be followed by "and burn" for his attempts with the ladies.

It is distinctive, though, and should make for a good story. It's an instant icebreaker.

Sex & Moxie said...

I'm betting it's a Bull Durham reference. Wasn't Kevin Costner's character named Crash? You know boys and baseball movies.

utenzi said...

Sounds like a "sports nickname" to be, Diane. Those names often last a lifetime--if the recipient likes the name and connotations, at least.

mollymcmommy said...

its almost like they put no thought whatsoever into naming their kid those parents of his.

even if it is a nickname its a stupid one :)


David said...

Crash, that is a great nickname. Guy was probably a blast to hang out with in high school. Crashing parties, crashing cars, crashing bikes. Hope he gets you in soon, you would be a great writer for their paper!