What’s in a Name? Everybody knows what a Jaguar is, or a Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes. But, what if you came home from the dealership, having purchased a new $50,000 car and in small chromium letters on the grill it just said…car… or maybe…automobile? You just might be tempted to boogie-on-back to the dealership with the words, “There’s been some mistake” upon your lips, and it would be justified. If you’re gonna spend that much money you deserve a good car name. Heck, for that amount of money, you deserve a superlative car name! And yet, my friends, we all got gypped royale, not with car names but with something much more important. And it happened so early in our lives and soooo long ago that nobody even noticed.
Who prefers Generic? We occupy a solar system, (one of millions) which has no name. It’s just called: solar system which is like saying car. It’s not a name but a category. In the center of our solar system is…a sun. Think about it. It’s a generic name as well. There are a 450 quadrillion suns in the universe…probably more, though I prefer to err on the side of understatement. No one bothered to name our sun or…if you’re getting ahead of me as I hope you are, our moon. Sad to say, it’s just… a moon. We try to gussy-it-up a bit by saying “the moon” but that’s slim compensation.
Mars But then… Look around you, astronomically speaking. Who lives next door to us? MARS: The God of War. Martians live on Mars which is pretty cool, and Martians have also attacked earth many times and nearly kicked our asses every time. But you gotta admit, it’s a cool name.
Venus Okay, now look over on the other side of Earth and what do you find? Venus! How neat is that? Venus is the goddess of love. When I was a little kid there was a movie called One Touch of Venus, starring a young Ava Gardner. At the tender age of four I learned what true feminine beauty was. Behold Venus.
The “U” Word: And you’re way ahead of me. Mercury, Saturn, Neptune and uhm…we’ll skip over that one mistakey-name that begins with U and is the butt of lots of…really snarky jokes. I heard that astronauts just landed on Uranus…..couldn’t resist. Even so, at least Uranus has a proper name. sorry….
What Gives? We have assiduously mapped all the moons of Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune…and everyone of them has a name, even little podunk moons the size of Buicks. Yet for us…nothing. Heck, we’ve even named all the craters, mountains. and valleys on the moon, a bunch on Mars as well, and we’ve named entire truckloads of stars, thousands of light-years away. What gives???
Marvin: I know what you’re gonna say. “Well, Henry, it’s just too damn late. What about all the forties and fifties, moon-June-spoon songs? I, for one, Henry, can’t imagine looking up at the moon (actually just a moon) and calling it Marvin or Manfred or Rumplestilskin. Just difficult to picture making out in the back seat of a Chevy under Marvin the Moon”.
THAT is where YOU come in: I’m pretty sure you can beat the name, Marvin and this is your chance. We as Americans deserve more….and if we start right now…today, I suspect we can beat the Soviets and the red Chinese to the punch on this one. I mean…it’s been forever already. But once the word gets out, there’ll be race. We must win this one.
Teleos: Since it’s my article, I’m claiming dibs on what is currently “one of a kajillion other suns” I’m thinking of naming it Teleos….cuz….it’s got that cool Star Trekian ring to it, it’s easy to say, and it has heavy-duty meaning if you’re a philo major. Essentially, it means: the first cause of things, which seems appropriate. Aristotle coined the term. Soooo…how does Teleos sound?
Solar System: Getting back to our Solar System, which just means a bunch of planets and some kinda sun… it’s just not good enough for us humans living here. It doesn’t cut it. Drunk with the power of just having named our sun, Teleos, I’m happy to take a back seat for this round. Some suggestions though, to jump-start. How ’bout, Micros Humanus? Little place of Humanity. It’s Latin and as such, sounds very up-town….swanky. Speaking to a Martian, just climbing out of his flying saucer, I’d say, “Welcome to our solar system” Micros Humanus! That big glowing ball up there? Why that’s now called Teleos. The moon, you ask? Well…we’re still working on that, but we live on planet Earth. Stamp your feet on that brown muddy stuff. It’s called earth.
Earth: Hey wait a minute. Did we just gyp ourselves…again? Mercury, Venus, Earth, (dirt) Would you tell someone, Hey guys, I live on planet, Dirt? or maybe……Potting Soil? We really dropped the ball with this naming thing. “I’m angry as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore.” Write in, cast your ballot. You may be very famous yet!!!!!
P.S. I just bought a really cool, gorgeous, highly under-priced new flagship car about a month ago. The only thing I didn’t like about it was the name, which was so close to the word, credenza, (couch) that I had to do something about it. I got pulled over by a cop in my really cool-looking car the other day. (it’s true!) I wasn’t speeding by the way. He just wanted to know what the hell kinda car a KRONOS was. 2-inch chromium block letters…very classy. KRONOS was the father of the other gods…got annoyed with them and ate them. Once I learned that tidbit I was hooked.