August 18, 2006
What's in a Name?
How many times have I gone just to get my mail when I was confronted by some addlepate who reeked of semi-Pelagianism from every pore! (I have taken to sliding under their doors neatly typed copies of the Canons of the Second Council of Orange.)
Just this morning, I am in the elevator, trying to avoid unwanted attention, my head buried in a copy of my Commentary on the Lord’s Prayer (a work of mellifluous beauty and profound spiritual insight), when some jackanapes recognizes me. He is surrounded by a passel of children who resemble raw material for a double-blind study in mycological infestation. I try to ignore him by turning my face to the wall of the elevator, but he persists. I suppress the Old Adam’s urge to wither him with a look of utter contempt and instead ask his name.
"Witt, August Witt. Herr Luther. And these are my three daughters."
"Ah," I lie. "And what are their names?"
"This is Mildew, Porcine, and Osteopenia."
Thank goodness we had reached the lobby! I immediately pulled out my cell phone and began dialing social services. "Excuse me, Herr Witt. But I am making a citizens' arrest. Your children will no doubt be cared for in a foster home run by semi-competent Lutherans."
"What kinds of names are these? Mildew, Porcine, and Osteopenia? These are conditions to be avoided, not names for children. You have condemned them to a lifetime of bullying, abuse, and psycholanalytic therapy! Hello? Is this social services? This is Luther, you idiot! I want an ambulance from Bellevue for Mr. Witt here—what was your Christian name again? Half or Nit?! Yes, and I need some kind of large cage for these young ones—hello? Hello?!"
As usual, my call was dropped. My miserable assistant has put me on his family plan. Of course, he has chosen the least-expensive carrier imaginable. Alexander Graham Bell got better reception with his call to Watson. You have to be impaled on the transmitter itself or standing on the surface of the sun just to get a dial tone. Ach!
"I think you are an abusive bully yourself, Herr Luther! What do you think of that?"
"I think New York State knew what it was doing when it passed its draconian gun-control laws!"
Listen to me, my Lutherans! Think twice—no, three times—before naming your children! Ask yourself, Would I want to go through life called Feather or Honorious? From now on, I want all male children born in the West to be called Martin, and all female babies to be named Katherine! There! I have done the work for you, you self-absorbed beasts!
*From this point forward, now and forever, the plural form of nincompoop will be nincompeeps. First, it has the virtue of imputing to a group the demerit of nincompoopdom without discrimination as to degrees of nincompoopitude. It also proves that Martin Luther, Doktor, is jiggy with it! (I have no idea what that means...)
Links to this post: