Well-chosen prerequisites lead to truly original challenges. Ionika Smeets challenges you this summer. Chapter 3: Almost do something in your name.
Do you know who created Wordle, a popular online game where you have to guess a word? It was… John Ward. I wonder how that happened when he was looking up the name. Maybe he wanted something with the ‘word’ on it because it covered the load better and then something on the side. Then it was a short step from Ward to Wordley.
It’s nice to be able to call something so subtle by your name. I was thinking of the elder Street sign blues Jeroen van Merwijk wrote for Harry Jeckers. In the song, Jeckers wonders what the likes of Adrian van Ostad and Beerke Donders did to get their name on a street sign. But then he walks down Monseigneur Bekkerslaan (‘Well, I’ve never heard of it, though he must have done something about it’) and Jekkers turns it into Monseigneur Jekkerslaan with a felt-tip pen.
There are wonderful examples of nouns: people who have an occupation that perfectly matches their name, such as Ferry Coke The cook is on the boat, Henny de Haan, who was the head of the Dutch Union of Poultry Farmers, or Sue Yu, an American lawyer.
There is also research showing that people prefer to choose a profession or place of residence that matches their name with a cool title, such as an article published in 2002: Why Susie Sells Seashells on the Beach: Implicit Ego and Major Life Decisions. In it, the authors show, among other things, that Laura and Larry are relatively frequent in America Lawyer (Will they later become laboratory technicians in the Netherlands?), Dennis and Dennis are over-represented among them. Dentists.
In 1896, William Crush, working for an American, was able to use his name in two ways. sHighway Corporation. He created a publicity stunt involving two old locomotives colliding that would attract thousands of people (by train, the railway company made a lot of money from this event). A special village was set up on the track for this scene and Crush modestly called it Crush – and the event was called ‘Crash at Crush’. And one letter is different from his last name.
Unfortunately, the clash went completely wrong, boilers exploded, debris flew into the air, two spectators died and others were injured. Crush was fired that same night, but rehired a day later, rumored to receive a bonus, and worked for the same railroad company until his retirement. Nevertheless, I would not advise you to follow his example.
But what can you do except for one letter in your name? Carnald Moss can go in all sorts of directions, for example, becoming a prime minister (Carnald Bass), an astronaut (Carnald Mars) or a gastroenterologist (Carnald Mack). My former assistant, Stephanie Brackenhoff, countered that it was too good for someone with a short last name, and what would she think of the name? A day later I texted her: ‘Autosloperij Wrackenhoff’. She now has a great plan B if her promotion to astronomy falls through. I have it too: I can move to New Zealand and start a candy shop: Ionica Sweets.
Have you accepted this challenge? Send a message with the results to [email protected].
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