Sunday, October 26, 2014

BROWN: Some items best left unnamed

By LINDA BROWN, Hold Me up a Little Longer, Lord | 10/16/2013

I had a childhood friend who was a namer; she named everything.

Her hairbrush was “Curley Sue.” Her baby blue Volkswagen Beetle was “Blue-Bell.”

I had a childhood friend who was a namer; she named everything.

Her hairbrush was “Curley Sue.” Her baby blue Volkswagen Beetle was “Blue-Bell.”

When she and her husband bought their first house, she wanted to name it. I suggested something like “Money Pit” or “Roman Empire” — as in the fall of the — but she was thinking along the lines of “Southfork,” “Tara” or “Wuthering Heights.” When I pointed out she didn’t own cattle, have cotton fields or Scottish dogs, she settled on “Oak Lawn” even though she didn’t have an oak tree on the property.

One day, we were riding in Blue-Bell, singing a Leslie Gore tune into Curley Sue when Blue-Bell stalled. My friend gently patted Blue-Bell’s steering wheel and then gently massaged her roundness and whispered, “Come on now, Blue, you can do this. Be a good girl. Momma don’t feel like walkin’ today.”

As if she understood the voice of her master, Blue-Bell perked right up and roared to life as soon as the key was turned in the ignition.

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard someone “talk” to a car. My mom talked to her car, a red Rambler station wagon with a standard three-on-the-tree transmission. I suppose she said other things to the often cantankerous machine, but the thing I remember her saying the most was, “I just need another 50,000 miles.”

The only inanimate object I use everyday that has a name is my computer at work. His name is “Old Bill.” He’s old, but still fairly reliable even though most of the software is so outdated it can’t be upgraded. Oh, and the “Bill” part of the name is the name of the guy who used the machine before I got it.

I call my car “my car” and our house “our house.” I guess I could consider giving my car a name, but things might turn out like “Christine,” the Stephen King car that once received a human name and went berserk — a four-wheeled, gasoline-powered serial killer who ran people over and into walls.

Clearly some things are better left unnamed.

Linda Brown is marketing director for The Ottawa Herald. Email her at lbrown@ottawaherald.com

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