Searching For Aroostook Q. Puckerwinkle
I don’t think it’s polite to make fun of people with funny names.
Uh, I mean unusual names.
Er, interesting names?
Names that stand out in a crowd? You know, in a good way.
As I was saying just the other day to my friend Amadeus Fallopian Duckbutt, such names add diversity and originality to our stifled culture. And if kids who get stuck with a moniker like Toyota Recall Hurlingutts grow up to murder their parents in their sleep that’s a small price to pay for expressing our individuality.
I bring this subject up because there were news stories this past week about a basketball player at Cheverus High School in Portland named Indiana Faithfull.
Faithfull is an all-state guard who appeared set to lead the Stags into the state finals, until it was discovered he was ineligible to play this semester. That’s because high-school players are limited to eight semesters of eligibility, and Faithfull had used up three of them back in his native Australia.
Wait. A guy named Indiana Faithfull isn’t a Colts fan from South Bend who grew up idolizing Larry Bird?
If that’s so it raises the horrifying prospect that his parents named him not after the Hoosier State, but after a Harrison Ford movie.
I suppose it could have been worse. He could have been Millennium Falcon Faithfull. Or Blade Runner Faithfull.
Hey, at least they weren’t Mel Gibson fans.
Unless he had a brother named Thunderdome Faithfull.
And if it turns out Indiana was named after a state, he can be thankful (or, possibly, thankfull) it wasn’t New Jersey.
Nevertheless, Mr. Faithfull’s first name got me thinking about people named after states – football great Joe Montana, actress Dakota Fanning, former President George Washington – which got me wondering why there are so few folks named Maine.
There’s John Maine, a baseball player, who last I knew was a member of the New York Mets. As a person who’s not entirely over the 1986 World Series, I hardly think that’s the sort of representative we’re looking for.
There’s also Sir Henry James Sumner Maine, a 19th century English legal historian and historical anthropologist.
Fascinating dinner guest, I’m sure.
The 18th century French philosopher François-Pierre-Gonthier Maine de Biran wasn’t even a real Maine. He was a Bergerac, who used that alias so the other kids would stop calling him Cyrano.
It’s not just the name Maine that’s underutilized. When was the last time you met somebody or something named after a Maine city or town? Massachusetts has the band Boston (and they’re welcome to them). Missouri has the saint, Louis. And Florida has CSI Miami. Whoever he is.
But Portland? It’s a kind of cement, but it’s not named after the city in Maine. There was once a band called Portland, but I think they got beat up by the guys in Boston.
Rumford? Again, there’s a defunct band. And I tried to name one of our dogs after that mill town. My wife, who’s a native of the place, forbid it. “He doesn’t smell bad enough,” she said.
Auburn? It’s a hair color. Oxford? It’s a shirt. Strong. It’s an odor. Lincoln? It’s in Nebraska.
I think this state should spend more time and effort encouraging people to name themselves after us. This could be especially useful for celebrities trying to repair their tarnished images. Who wouldn’t want to sign a big endorsement deal with a golfer named Wytopitlock Woods? Who wouldn’t seriously consider supporting a presidential bid by a horny ex-senator with silky hair named Mattawankeag Edwards? Charlie Sheen may be an accused wife-beater, but Caratunk Sheen sounds like an accidental oil slick on the Kennebec River.
Still, it might be easier if we got some of our home-grown celebrities to change their names. A prime candidate would be state Rep. Michael Carey, who was recently named by Cosmopolitan magazine as one of “7 Politicians We’d Like to See Shirtless.”
As Cosmo put it, “Knowing this blue-eyed New Englander is working hard in the State House of Representatives makes us want to brave the Maine winter just to vote for him.”
Carey ought to exploit his brief moment in the spotlight by changing his name to the benefit of his hometown. Say hello to M. Lewiston Carey, girls.
Or how about Anna Kendrick, a Portland native who was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actress for her role in “Up In The Air” with George Clooney.
Would it really be too much of an imposition to suggest she could get along just as well in the movie industry if her name was Anna Kennebunkport? And couldn’t she at least ask Clooney if he’d consider becoming George Clewleyville Corners (it’s in Holden, which, heaven knows, could use the publicity)?
Would Clooney suddenly become lots less hunky than, say, Michael Carey just because he has a dorkier last name? I doubt it. I mean, as names go, Clooney isn’t exactly a gem.
There were news reports this week that Portland is still in the running to become the new home of the mothballed aircraft carrier, the USS John F. Kennedy.
If that happens, I doubt there’s anything in the rules that says we can’t do some modest renaming, so it becomes the USS John Fort Fairfield Kennedy. I mean, the initials would be almost the same.
Snoop Dogg is coming to Lewiston later this month.
What harm could it do to promote him for this one show as Snoop Dogg Island Corner (it’s in Belfast, although they spell “dog” with just one g)?
And let’s not forget poor Indiana Faithfull, benched for the entire playoffs by some bureaucratic rule, a rule that could, perhaps, be – I hate to say “bent” or “twisted” or “ignored due to a blatant instance of bribery and corruption,” so how about referring to it as “amended” – to allow a few more weeks of eligibility for anyone who changes his or her name to something that promotes this state, like Dirigo Maine or Augusta Disgusta or Aroostook Q. Puckerwinkle.
No laughing about that last one. It’s not polite.
Al Diamon promises to make another attempt to name a dog Rumford. He can be e-mailed at email@example.com.