Friday, October 10, 2008

What's in a name?

I don't know why I thought about this today, but for some reason I found myself reminiscing about a job I had a long time ago, where I had two kids that worked for me, twin brothers, whose last name was Fangboner.
That's right.
I know a lot of surnames originate from the trades people did. Paul the smith became Paul Smith. Same thing with names like Baker, Miller, Farmer and others. I'm just finding it difficult to picture a hut in the middle of a village square with a shingle out in front reading FANGBONER. Even more difficult to picture is a line of people queueing up to patronize this merchant:
"Pray tell, what doth bring thee to town upon this fine morning?"
"Sadly, Miller, 'tis truly a visit of unfortunate circumstance, for I am here to have my boner fanged."
"Dude. Bummer."
"Yea, verily."

Maybe that's why the name is so uncommon:
"Son, are you ready to head down to the shop with me this morning?"
"I, um, I don't think so, pop."
"What do you mean? We've got a lot of boners to fang. Let's get going!"
"Pop, we haven't seen a single boner in months. We sit around the shop all day long and nobody even comes in unless they're getting change for the parking meter."
"Times are tough all over. There's no denying that. But we're not going to turn things around by sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves! Now let's get going. Those boners aren't going to fang themselves!"
"Pop, I've been thinking about it and I don't want to fang boners for a living. I...I want to go to art school."
"I can't believe what I'm hearing!"

Younger generations, yearning to express themselves freely, rejected and severed all ties with their once-proud family heritage:
"Dear, your paintings are just lovely!"
"Thanks, mom! It really means a lot to me that you came to my first gallery showing."
"You know your father loves you, but he...well, he just..."
"It's okay, mom. Really."
"One thing I don't understand, though; why didn't you sign your name to any of your portraits?"
"I did, mom. Right there in the lower right corner."
"Your name is not Hitler!"
"I have a grand vision of what the future holds, mom. I can no longer accept the restrictions imposed on me by the ways of the past."

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