From comedian Mitch Hedberg:
“I wish my name was Brian because maybe sometimes people would misspell my name and call me Brain. That’s like a free compliment and you don’t even gotta be smart to notice it.”
From the Mental Floss article 18 Athletes Going to Sochi Alone:
If you do a Google search for the name Bruno Banani, you will get the German underwear company of that name. But it’s also the name of the first Winter Olympian from Tonga. Born Fuahea Semi, the Tongan rugby player and luger went by Bruno Banani to court sponsorship from the company. It was part of a deal endorsed by the Tongan royal family to enable the athlete to afford training in Germany with the world’s best lugers. The company insinuated that the name was just a coincidence that led to the sponsorship, but that story unraveled quickly. It wasn’t “just” a hoax; Semi legally changed his name to Bruno Banani. The International Olympic Committee decided that even though using a sponsor’s name is in bad taste, Banani is the name on his passport, so he will be the lone athlete representing Tonga at Sochi in the luge event.
From the NYT obituary of Pitcairner and Bounty mutineer descendant Tom Christian:
There are no automobiles on Pitcairn, and the island’s rocks and cliffs bear names redolent of long-ago tragedies: “Where Dan Fall,” “Where Minnie Off,” “Oh Dear.”
Besides his daughter Jacqueline, Mr. Christian’s survivors include his wife, the former Betty Christian, whom he married in 1966 (like many Pitcairn couples, they are distant cousins); three other daughters, Raelene Christian, Sherileen Christian and Darlene McIntyre; and six grandchildren.
From Penelope Trunk’s blog post My name is not really Penelope:
So when I signed up for my son’s preschool, I told them my name was Penelope Trunk. My husband had a fit. He told me I was starting our new life in Madison as an insane person and I cannot change my name now.
But I explained to him that it would be insane not to change my name now. I am way better known as Penelope than Adrienne. And my career is so closely tied with the brand Penelope Trunk, that I actually became the brand. So calling myself Penelope Trunk instead of Adrienne Greenheart is actually a way to match my personal life with my professional life and to make things more sane.
At first it was a little weird. For example, we were driving in the car one day and my son said, “Mom, who’s Penelope Trunk?”
But now it feels good to be Penelope Trunk. No more having to figure out what name to give where. No more pretending to be someone, sometimes. No more long explanations and short memories of who calls me what.
From The Importance of Social Class in Ecuador by Kera Wright:
Before heading to Quito, an Ecuadorian friend warned me about the importance of social class, saying “It’s a really big deal over there.” Although I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time, after being here for 8 months, I realize that her statement certainly holds true. Though subtle, I hear class-related conversation almost every day.
Like the United States, social class influences several aspects of your life. Examples include neighborhood, appearance, education, and even your last name. However, unlike the United States, there is little social mobility. People born in the lower class will usually remain there for the rest of their lives, tending to give a sense of superiority to many members of Ecuador’s upper class.
During Christmas dinner, a member of my host family revealed that she was pregnant. The entire family was excited, and immediately began suggesting baby names. After someone suggested a name, my host mom scrunched up her face in disapproval and replied “¡Suena como nombre de taxista,” or “Sounds like a taxi driver’s name!” Everyone laughed. Apparently the thought of the baby, a member of Quito’s upper-middle class, having a name fit for a “lowly” taxista was absurd and comical. These kinds of assertions are not extremely uncommon.
From Overheard in New York:
Bartender to 20-something man: What’s your name? I’ll start a tab.
20-something man: Oliver.
Old man at bar: Oliver Twist… People ever call you Oliver Twist? (laughs)
20-something man: Old people always do. Newer people don’t.
-Pizzaria, 86th & 3rd
From a LIFE article about Ham, the First Chimpanzee in Space:
The most famous of all the Mercury chimps, due to his landmark January 1961 flight, Ham was actually not publicly called Ham until after the flight succeeded. The name by which he’s now known — an acronym for Holloman Aerospace Medical Center at the Air Force base — was only widely used when he returned safely to earth; NASA reportedly wanted to avoid bad publicity should a named (and thus a known, publicly embraced) animal be killed; all the Mercury chimps were known by numbers.
From a Harvard Crimson article on student Techrosette Leng:
It has taken Techrosette Leng ’07 a while to grow into her unusual name. During a sixth grade spelling bee, the principal called her “Techroshit.”
Want more? Here’s the Name Quotes category.