My wife made chicken lasagna for dinner last week. When we sat down to eat, the conversation went like this:
Me: "Wait! We haven't named the lasagna yet!
(Everyone looks at me.)
Sarah: "We haven't named the lasagna yet?"
Me: "Right. It doesn't have a name. I suggest we call it Bob -- Bob the Lasagna."
Anna: (sadly) "Well, now we're going to get attached to it."
Anna was right. When you name something, you grant it a personality, and allow it a power over you it didn’t have before.
We enjoyed eating Bob as much as we’ve enjoyed any other lasagna — but just because of the name we’ll remember Bob after other, nameless pans of lasagna have been long forgotten.
I can’t wait to meet Gladys, the bowl of mashed potatoes.
Then again, when I told that story to my cousin Nick Revier the farmer, he wrote, “We name our cattle before we butcher. Seems logical to name a lasagna or at least the chicken in it.”
Never underestimate the power of names to affect the way people see you. Actors and singers don’t, which is why “stage names” sprung up.
English people who wouldn’t pay good money to listen to the Irish singer Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus would once he walked onstage and transformed into Elvis Costello.
The Parsi singer Farrokh Bulsara changed his name to Freddie Mercury and watched his career take off.
The Cockney English actor Archibald Leach changed his name to Cary Grant because he thought the letters C and G might be lucky. He noticed it had for Clark Gable and Gary Cooper....
Out of curiosity I checked just now, and there’s already a Joshua Dixon registered in the Screen Actors Guild. If I wanted to become a professional actor, they’d require me to change my name somehow. Me being me, I’d probably choose something like “Rock Granitecliff”.
Odds are agents would offer me a whole completely different range of roles than if I had chosen “Percy Prettybloom”.
It’s fascinating to me that to most women, it’s a given their last names are going to change at least once during their lives.
To guys, that’s a totally alien concept. Their name is a bedrock of their identity. Women learn to be a little more flexible in their sense of who they are. How does that affect everyone’s whole view of themselves?
Living in a house full of females, I hear the girls trying out different last names to see how they will sound. How do you ladies stand the uncertainty?
Page 2 of 2 - if you met the man of your dreams, would you say, “Ewwww! I’m not marrying him!” and walk away when you found out his last name was something like Klownfahrt?
My father always liked the sound of the name Revier better than Dixon, and was a little grumpy he couldn’t be the spouse to do the name change.
Bob the Lasagna would have approved.