Sunday, June 27, 2010

Phonebook Names

So I'm actually cleaning my office. It's a huge undertaking: there's an unpacked box in the corner from our move three years ago, on top of which I've been mounding stuff that needs to be filed. And other stuff -- a paper glacier. So the office has never really been "clean." It feels pathological. When it's done I'm going to be a whole new person -- maybe someone who actually finishes writing the novels she starts!

Among other things, I found a list of excellent names. At first I thought I made them up, but no: I could not have invented such great names. I actually found them in the Missoula, MT, phonebook. I've always spent a lot of time reading phonebooks. One day, there won't be any phonebooks anymore, so we should celebrate them while we can!

James Snoozy
Vernon Slippy
Paul Tissue
Fern Tiger
Priscilla Wig
E. Warmflash
Amy Brokenleg
Boyd Booze
N. Eyepopper
Andrew Face
Ace Feek
Elaine Ee
E. T. Bob Sleem
Spanky Scrunchly

I still can't believe N. Eyepopper. Really, the Ithaca phonebook just can't compete.

Please share names you've found in phonebooks!

22 comments:

Mr London Street said...

I once worked for the fraud department of a phone company and had to investigate calls to Nigeria by a Mrs Adepo O. Shitta. I'm not even joking.

Kathleen said...

Bermuda Schwartz

5 Red Pandas said...

Teaching gives you the same experience as looking in the phone book. I had a devilish boy named U'Majesty. I don't think any first names can compete with that.

MendotaSteinway said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MendotaSteinway said...

My high school class had a Tiffany Glass and Robert Roberts, and I currently have to reference papers by the collaborative team of Asphaug and Kraal.

Anonymous said...

On the teaching theme, my buddy teaches high school math and has a student named La-a. It's pronounced Ladasha. Get it? The dash isn't silent.

My neighbor came over the other day to ask my kids to babysit and introduced herself with, "Hello, my name is Mrs. Weathercockle." After she left, they were on the floor in hysterics. All they have to say now is "hello" in just the right voice and they're set off again...

jrlennon said...

The change in the office is extraordinary--it has never been so clean! Not even the day we moved in, when it became a Random Paper Repository.

Spanky Scrunchly is the one that still blows my mind.

It was in Missoula where I had a student with the most beautiful name I have ever heard: Daylight Horse Capture.

Pete said...

I don't trawl through phonebooks (yet!) but I used to work in the mailroom for a company that sold magazine subscriptions, and the best customer name I remember was Joanne Peed. Also, my schoolteacher mom once had a student named Ima Violet Cloud.

jrlennon said...

wait wait, Bermuda Schwartz, are you kidding me? Good god. That just now sunk in.

Russell said...

How about Sissy Allman? There's at least one out there. (I found that one by thinking up an oxymoronic but plausible name then searching for it; et voilà. A game to play at wits' end.) [Bermuda Schwartz can't be topped; La-a is wonderful too, but in a different way.] All this reminds me of Steve Martin's run-of-the-mill bastards. Run-of-the-mill these names are not.

rmellis said...

Strange, my grandmother used to say she knew a girl named Iva Violet Bottom.

And someone I knew had a student named Aquanetta, after the hairspray. It's actually a beautiful name, and I can see how, looking at a name every morning when you do your hair, you might get attached to it. Whenever we visit JR's parents, we pass the Tobyhanna exit on 380. Not a coincidence we have a son named Toby.

jrlennon said...

Hmm. If that's where we're saying we got his name, he's lucky we didn't name him Throop.

Hope said...

I cleaned my office last fall, and I had about 5 years' worth of papers "to be filed." I bought a shredder and spent 3 days cleaning, filing, sorting. Then I Googled "office feng shui" and used some of those principles to rearrange. I think it did make me a better person. So go! And keep writing.

ed skoog said...

In the Missoulian and the University of Montana Kaimin there used to be a classified ad for a typist, "Fast and Accurate Verna Brown".

And I have a distant ancestor from Cheswick, PA named "Ada Pillow."

jrlennon said...

Reminds me of the old joke about dreaming of eating a marshmallow and waking to a missing pillow.

Anonymous said...

As an administrator of an engineering-themed bibliographic database, I’ve seen my share of gems. A few that I’ve kept close to the heart have been: Ronald O Hamburger, Marco Pasta, Toshikatsu Ichinose and . . . wait for it . . . Onkar Diksh!t.

Diana Holquist said...

We need a whole post on pen names. My fave romancelandia author is Destiny Booze. I guess I shouldn't assume that's a pen name...

And there there are my facebook "friends." I would so love to meet Shingles McFancy in person.

Diana Holquist said...

...and then there....sheesh...

jrlennon said...

there there, Diana, there there...

EmilyCleaver said...

I work in a bookshop, which seems to attract people with made-up names. My favourite was Mr. Gonzalez Dust.

Also, on the London tube the other day I heard a station announcer send out a call for a Mr. Graham Fingers.

Anonymous said...

Fern Tiger exists in Oakland CA. She has a firm that works with nonprofit and public sector organizations, and she is a professor at Arizona State University. You can find out more at www.ferntiger.com.

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