The Naming of Things
And the power thereof.
Many of the things I own have names. Part of this is human nature, part of it is a joyful animistic pantheism, and part of it is the joy of imagination.
My last car was named Beez, short for Beezle, short for Bealzebuddy, a friendly little daemon who ferried me wherever I wanted to go. When an accident took Beez to the great big scrapyard in the sky, I found Buzz, who is bigger and bulkier Subaru, and whose primary attraction was a much wider windshield that reminded me of the Apollo missions.
Not that I was there, of course. Still sparked a memory.
My first iPod, a surprise birthday gift from my wife pre-loaded with Gorillaz, was named Goblin. I’ve had three Goblins in succession, but my newest iPhone is Maury, not after the conspiracist on Stranger Things but a corruption of Mawhrin-Skel, the artificial intelligence in Iain Banks’ marvelous novel The Player of Games.
You want plants? Oh, we got plants. Roo and Drew and Hazel and The Twins. I am sad that it took me this long to think of Basilbub just this moment, but then, I probably ought not ingest anything with that name, given my history with demons under the skin.
I’m typing this on Skuld, my PC, named for the youngest of the Norns in Norse myth, who decide the fate and destiny of every man, woman, and child. With as much time as I spent on the keyboards, it’s best to accept a certain hand of fate. Perhaps my next will be Manos?
My paintball marker is Lady M, after Shakespeare’s grandest queen, pushing this gentle soul into the fields of fire and flame, where I seek to slay my closest friends … all in play, of course. All in the name of fun.
My kitchen knives are from Victrinox, but are collectively The Children. Not my children, but The Children, who will feed me in my dotage but whom I now hone and shine and sharpen into the forms which suit me best.
Some things are not yet named, but will be – the bicycle and kayak, once they grow closer to me. The endless journals of paper and leather and black and silver ink.
Some things will go ever nameless, it seems; my clothes as one example, the tools of the dayjobbery another.
Which makes me wonder: What summons a name? Is it familiarity? Commonality? Perceived usefulness to the giver of names? And while we know the magical power of knowing a name, how much greater to bestow one unsought?
Send me your names. What inanimate, or partly animate, friends fill your own home?
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