Naming things

In the beginning God created stuff. Then he created man and told man to name that stuff. This whole process of naming things is really a matter of dominance (real or perceived). God said we were to be stewards of the land and that we were to care for all creation. Man thought "I name it I own it." I don't know if God had Adam name everything because God knew man was the coolest thing ever created, or if God realized man's limited memory would cause man to only remember what stuff was called if man gave that stuff a name.

"So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field." And what began in the earliest of human history we have taken from a privilege and turned it into a right. We've made naming things an art-form, and we've mastered it.

Isn't it amazing how we've perfected this practice of christening things? It started with flora and fauna but we didn't stop there. We name our kids (I'm pretty dang grateful for that one), we named the planets and stars and other celestial bodies, we named our diseases and ailments, we named our cities and countries, and we named hurricanes and mountains and canyons and crayons.

Today, new discoveries are dubbed by the person that found it. Whether it's a new insect, or virus, or comet - it is specified by whichever name given by the discoverer (usually a narcissistic ball of ego who lends his/her own name to the new thing). God forbid I ever discover a hideous ravaging disease - it'd be named plaugus nicholosus epidemis - eww.

But there is another denominating ritual that I find bemusing. Homes and cars. From Graceland to Neverland, the rich have given their homes names that represent their personalities. But even the not-quite-so-rich-or-famous have named their homes.

And then there's cars. We once named the beast of the fields; we now name the beasts of the roads. An old friend and former roommate of mine named all his vehicles. Ten years later I strangely remember them all: Carlos (I think it was an old Buick), Iceberg (a white Ford Escort), and The Rock (a beat up Ford truck). I only named one car - my first. It was an Acura Legend given the moniker Papa Smurf (it was blue & grey). The car Bekah drove when we first met had a couple of nicknames: Santa's Magic Sack and The Pregnant Roller Skate. Neither were practical names for daily usage. But since Papa Smurf and The Pregnant Roller Skate, we've not named any of our cars.

Why do we name our cars? Or houses? Is it so we can claim dominance over these creations? Or are we trying to make the impersonal personal?


  1. I vote for trying to make the impersonal personal. :)

  2. Hi Nic,
    I think I remember a "jelly bean" car that you and Bekah used to have, at least others of us called it that.
    Colleen's house is called "the tangerine tower".

  3. Thanks for reminding me, Dianne. The Jelly Bean is the same car as The Pregnant Roller Skate. It had a few different names.

  4. and to think that our neighbor has a car that looks like your old ford...same color, same looks, same model. it is frightening....