The curse all writers deal with.
|Names! Why do characters need names? We have the first name. Thaddius. Thaddius? What kind of parent in their right mind names their kid Thaddius these days? It’s the twenty first century people, come on! And another thing; Adius? That, ladies and gentlemen, is the name of a shoe. Imagine the name calling such a boy would recieve at school. “Hey, shoe-boy! Going running any time soon? Why are you so mean to third world countries? Sweatshop workers are people too.” Adius, Pshaw. It was bad enough when hippies were naming their bastard spawn Moonbeam or Feather. And I say that with the utmost respect.
Not only that, but readers expect me to come up with a last names to boot! Now don’t get me wrong, I love my characters. But does it really make a difference whether his name is Tom or Tom Jones? “Oh! But last names help define characters and separate the Bill Clintons from the Bill Gates of the world.” Here’s a little secret folks, it doesn't matter! Nobody cares! Unless, of course, your character’s name is Joe All-powerfull-almighty-warlord-god-of-death-the-underworld-and-cheese-cake, then it’s up to you.
If that wasn’t bad enough, some people want you to have a middle name. “What? I give you two perfectly good names, and now you want me to come up with a third one? You know what you are? You’re freekin’ loony, that’s what you are! I mean, Sarah Marie Roberts, or Sarah Roberts. Where’s the difference? George Bush or George W. Bush? I’d better stop there. That opens up a floodgate nobody wants to mess with.
That brings us to the most heinous of all names...the nickname. Just like when your birth name was forced upon you by your parents, surprise surprise, your friends have just forced another one on you. Stretch, four-eyes, buck-tooth, O’Mally, bull’s eye, stumpy, chicken lips, tinkerbell, Kimosabi... The list goes on and on. But then again, if it weren’t for nicknames, we wouldn’t have an appreciation for just how worthless our names truly are. For instance, everyone in his preschool will end up calling Rodricko Louis Johnson VII nothing more than Rocky. All the Richards in the world know what I’m talking about. No one likes being called Dick.
But wait, there’s more! This insanity doesn’t stop with people names. It affects all proper nouns! Let’s ignore the obvious New York, New England, New Guina, New Zeland, New Jersey, New Organ, New Hope, New Mexico, New Atlantis, New Mars, and New Hampshire for now. Did you know there are over eight different cities in the United States called Paris? That there are at least five Londons, and two, count them, two Torence malls.
Names have even gone so far as to confound and confuzzel our colors. Colors, for crying out loud, have been tainted with our evil nack for naming things. As we know, there is a new and different color for every possible and different mix of paint, and for every color there has to be a name to go with it. I can understand the need for red, orange, and red-orange. I can let an occasional cerulean, periwinkle, and fuchsia by. But then I go to Home Depot and look at the swatches. There’s a Pacific blue, Indian Blue, Atlantic Blue, and Arctic Blue. Then, at the very bottom, there’s an Ocean Blue. Was I mistaken? Aren’t the Pacific, Indian, Atlantic, and Arctic all oceans? It’s just water, people! It’s blue! How much different can they get! Jeeze!
Okay, so now that we’ve established the fact that names are pointless, let’s name our character. But no, not just any old name will do. It has to fit the character! No one will ever let a beautiful, dazzling, graceful princess of a fabled land be Urma. And because of their constant use, you can’t name your guys Bob or John. Nope. It’s too ‘boring’ and not ‘exciting’ enough.
Then what can we use? If you have an evil villain or a heroic knight you could name them Mal or Lux. Really? Latin? Oh gee, that’s original. How about Erde for a goddess of earth? Or Agua for your mermaid? I mean, it’s not like people speak German or Spanish anywhere.
Seriously, why do we bother? Why waste all this time and energy on letters strung together for that special someone when a simple number will do? Isn’t that what social security is for? No matter how much they lie and try to deny it, the government doesn’t care that you’re Jane Smith, wife to Tarzan, mother of three, life-long lover of puppies, chop-suey, and miniature golf. No. To them you are, were, and forever shall be; citizen designation: THX-11-38. Why not try this with books?
Man:395 gazed into the color:85 eyes of woman:361. Sailing away from city:308 on the good ship:17, the last thing on their mind was what woman:361’s father, evil-overlord:891, would do once he discovered their escape. Their only hope was the help of witch:367 and her magical creatures, the magical-creature:907s. Their sole companion, supporting-character:180, would do anything to ensure their safety. He would travel to Afterlife-destination:1 and back to make sure their pet dogbreed:15, dog-name:7, came with them to happily-ever-after-land:45.
Sadly, this is not the case. So for now, 7 will be Fluffy, 15 will be schnauzer, 367 is Glenda, 85 is blue, 361 Marsha and 395 John.