amusing names

One of my favourite bits of the Simpsons is when Bart telephones Moe’s bar and gets Moe to shout out to his patrons ‘I’m looking for…Amanda Huggenkissme’ or some other spurious name designed to cause maximum embarrassment to the unsuspecting and dim-witted Moe. Admit it though, it’d be a tad more embarrassing to have to walk up to Moe to take the call and have to fess up to owning the shameful name. But surely nothing could be as bad as Bart’s fabricated handles…?

Well they say the truth is stranger than fiction. The other day I was watching a bit of day time tv (I swear I only have it on as background whilst I’m beavering away on the laptop) and up popped the Deadly Knowledge quiz game. It’s pure student tv and serves to demonstrate that academically today’s undergraduates are the new ‘O’ levellers. Anyway the girls’ team consisted of Jenny (or some other bland-sounding name) and SeeCum.   And it wasn’t pronounced like Harry’s surname (seek-om) but exactly as it appears here with the emphasis on the second syllable. Now I appreciate that one of her folks had an Asian background but you’d think the other parent might have suggested that the name resonated unfortunately here. I didn’t catch her surname but you’d hope for her sake it wasn’t something equally oriental like N’Likket. Even Moe might blanche at that one.

But you know I’ve come across some belting real names over the years. I used to check pools coupons in the evening when I was 16 or so and it was really tedious work. To relieve the boredom we’d have a bit of fun enjoying the  entrants’ names. To this day I remember an A.Dimmock, F.Reaky and P U.Kerr. However my fondest memory of an amusing name was a former colleague at Cellnet who had been lovingly christened (and I promise you this is absolutely the truth) Seema Butt. She was a lovely girl and you can probably imagine every guy’s mental (and often verbal) response whenever she introduced herself.

This isn’t quite the same thing but one of my flat mates at University had the surname Winmill. Early on in our first term  we went up to register  at the National Library of Wales – a brilliant facility equivalent to the British Library – which sat adjacent to the campus complex. Once I’d gone through the registration process with the quietly spoken and slightly deaf receptionist, it was over to Martin to answer her questions about his personal details. When she enquired about his surname he diligently answered W-i-n-m-i-l-l and politely offered the useful advice ‘No D’. Misinterpreting this ever so slightly she responded  ‘Ah Noddy’ and noted this down as his Christian name. Too late mate; immediately he became known as Noddy Winmill; a moniker he always hated – and the more he hated it, the more we enjoyed calling him it.

And everyone must know that the father of footballers Gary and Phil Neville is christened Neville. You’d hate your parents for that wouldn’t you? 

Amusing naming is a rich vein of humour at others’ expense of course but it’s hard not to feel sorry for the poor saps who have to go through life with unfortunate names. I once remember listening to ‘Ask the Panel’ (or whatever it was called) and this guy steps up and asks ‘Does the panel think that parents should give more thought  to the naming of their children’ to which the panel chairman said ‘Thank you sir and your name is?’ The poor, poor bastard stuttered ‘Norman…Norman Conquest. I kid you not; it’s the absolute truth.  I nearly cried for a second and then broke up in pieces. I know, it was heartless but come on, it’s funny. 

If you’ve got any other examples – or maybe you’re proud of your unusual name – please let me know. I promise I won’t laugh. Yeh right!  Aww come on, look I’ve got a christian-sounding name for both my given and surname and I had to endure years of teachers at my surname-only grammar school, mixing the two up. Much to the amusement of my classmates. Well at least I didn’t have a handle like the guy who sat in the next desk to me on my first day at grammar school – Martin Moncrieff Lord. I remember saying something like ‘Good grieff Moncrieff, what does your dad do because my dad’s a breadman? And you know, he was an electrician or something. 

What’s in a name eh?



14 thoughts on “amusing names

  1. My dad’s name is Hugh Rea and he’s forever amused by people saying “hooray!” when he’s introduced.

    Also had a family who had life cover when I worked at CU who were the ‘Pinecoffin’ family.

  2. hi M

    i never new that was your dad’s name, top stuff. very uplifting.

    as for the second name very weird. good one

    hope all is well – i’ll call to catch up!

  3. yep struggling to do a glaciology/climatology/geomorphology gag there russ.

    but there must be something in the odd names waters of the geography department. the guy who taught me at the same school back in the middle ages was affectionately known as boggy marsh. it was a simpler time!


  4. hi stu

    thks for checking in.

    could be feline or maybe it’s the name of the cop in the latest version of ‘In the Heat of the Night’ (based in Provincetown rather than the redneck south) where dashing Rods Tiger says ‘They call me Mr Tibb…les”

    A little-laboured I agree. Sorry Stu. Check in again, it’s not always this bad.


  5. What is in a name indeed?

    Well, my name is certainly unique as every so often I can google myself and find….me. Or you, more to the point!

    That game show has been the bane of my life, fear struck me hard during that show at which point my brain froze and I was unable to answer those ridiculous questions. So I do object to being called an O’leveller (this show happened before went to University anyway) as you can’t really account for fear in such shows.

    I do however find this text that you have written rather amusing, it was just yesterday morning that I was considering on dropping an ‘e’ from my name so it wasn’t quite so direct. However, I am encouraged by my peers to keep my name as it is. Be proud of your name so they say! By the way, there is more hilarity to my name but it’s not in my surname. One day, I might tell you what that is.

    Reasons why I shouldn’t change my name:

    1. There is a place called Ecum Seecum in Nova Scotia. I plan to visit and stay there for 2 years and eventually, inspire the locals to erect a statue in my honor. This will be brilliant!

    2. You can always find me on google.

    3. I will be depriving the world of some small dose of laughter.

    My parents are Vietnamese and Chinese so there was no-one to correct the choice of name. So far, it has only become apparent from the years 16 and above so I did have a relatively peaceful childhood.

    Oh and my cat is called Tibbles! No joke. How very odd indeed.

    So PP, my house mates and I would like to invite you round for tea at our warehouse in Whitechapel. Do come by! Honestly.



  6. Well I don’t believe it. How great to hear from you Seecum. And what a gracious response to my rather unkind posting. I’m humbled.

    I’m delighted to hear that you aren’t going to change your name because it is so unusual S, and, if you can treat every numpty who ridicules it with so much grace, then you will charm your way through life.

    I’m intrigued to know what your surname is now – I’ll have to pop round for that cuppa to find out. Ha! And I’m going to have to check out that place in Nova Scotia. It’s just down the road from Hocus Pocus isn’t it?

    I can see that the name Tibbles is going to become a bit of a theme here. That’s not your surname is it? Now that would be a lark.

    Take care Seecum and please CumSee us again anytime. Sorry, I’ll stop now.

  7. Hi PP

    (are you being ironic with a name that sounds like weewee by the way)

    haha i only jest of course, I’m Seecum’s friend, the “other one with the bland sounding name” apparently, tho its not Jenny, it’s Hayley, and I’m very proud of Seecum’s response to your childish post and yes one of the friends who told her to ignore other peoples reactions and keep her name just the way it is, numpties thery are indeed!
    Before I read her response I was ready to leave a very harsh comment but have decided to take a leaf out of her book and restrain myself, after all, we can only tackle ignorance by showing by example.

    Good day sir (or madam, I have no idea actually)

  8. hi hayley

    well that’s told me and you’re welcome to comment of course. i didn’t really mean that your name was unlikeable I just meant that i couldn’t recall it because seecum’s name was so memorable. sorry hayley – no offence intended.

    as for the posting well i admit that it wasn’t the most intelligent thing i’ve writtten. i do have a fascination with unusual names and seecum seems to have taken the posting in her stride, rightly dismissing it as simple buffoonery. she seems a delightful young woman and i think she is ok with me – i hope.

    as to whether i’m a sir or madam i think there may be a couple of clues in the masthead and titles at the top of the page.

    yours (without irony)
    pasta paulie

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