Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dear Diary: A Douche By Any Other Name

Dear Diary,

I've noticed something about people's names. Any dude who has a hoity-toity sounding name is someone I instantly judge. I'm talking about guy whose name makes them sound like the antagonist of an 80's teen comedy. Hunter Chillingsworth. Brooks Haverford. Bryce Harper. Preston Michael Ellsworth. When I hear a name like that, my brain instantly thinks, "Ugh. Really?" As though it's that guy's fault for picking a name that makes him sound like a prep school asshole. It's dumb. It's his parents' fault. I should be thinking, "Ugh. Your parents make poor decisions."

Image result for 80s teen movie villain
Stan Gable shortened his name from Stanley Gable
in an attempt to correct his parents' poor decision.
It's the whole name that creates the effect. Preston, Bradford, and Ellis on their own do not ooze Pretentious Douchebag. The last name tips the scale. Add Du Pont, Montgomery, or Wattsley after those names and you've got yourself a lacrosse loving, ascot wearing punk. For example, Ellis Jackson sounds like a dude I would want to hang out with. Ellis Du Pont sounds like a seventeen-year-old with strong opinions on unions.

I believe that parents have a responsibility to their children to scrutinize any potential name choice. Adopt the mentality of cruel school children and run that name through the ringer. Game out all potentials insults that could derive from it. Are you a heavy-set person considering naming your son Matthew? He might be called Fat Matt. Thinking of the name Ronald? Your son will be accused of being a fast food clown from the ages of 8 to 16. You can still use these names, but you need to be aware of what's coming down the pike and raise a mentally strong child. And definitely don't hang your kid out to dry by making their name sound like a joke to begin with. If you're last name is Candle, then you shouldn't be naming your son Randall. If your last name is Finger, then the name Amanda is not an option. Kids will always go for the low-hanging fruit. Don't hand it to them.

Which brings us back to names that belong to people who are 27th in line for the British crown. These people's parents either didn't realize that putting a ritzy sounding first name with a ritzy sounding last name would make them sound like stuffy assholes or their parents didn't care. But for some reason my instinct is to be wary of Rutherford Farthington and not his parents. It's not his fault. Maybe that instinct comes from the idea that people are shaped by their names. I don't know how true that is, but would-be insightful internet listicles certainly claim that it's true. I do agree that anyone with a unique name is more likely to have a sarcastic sense of humor due to years of hearing people try and be clever about butchering their name. But are people with pretentious sounding names more likely to be pretentious assbags? Maybe. But we still need to resist the urge to judge the name holder. They didn't make the choice. Their only recourse is shortening the name to something better or trying to force a nickname, which as we all know rarely works.

The real moral is, if you name your son Ambrose he's either going to be in an art rock band or really into investment banking.



Friday, February 19, 2016

Rejected Washington DC Satire

What follows are two articles I wrote and submitted to Rock Creek Snark, a very fun Washington, DC theme satirical blog. They let me down gently, but I still wanted to share what I wrote.

Mayor Bowser Eyes Monorail as Alternative to Streetcars

Citing delays and budget setbacks on the H Street Streetcar project, Mayor Muriel Bowser has sought out alternate means of expanding the city’s public transportation system. On Friday, Bowser held an exploratory meeting with Lyle Lanley, a civil engineer who specializes in monorails. “We felt that other options needed to be on the table,” said Bowser, “once it was discovered that the streetcars cannot go around automobiles parked on the tracks.” Bowser went on to emphasize that, though the meeting was positive, it was still for information gathering. “We are still in the exploratory phase. Nothing is set in stone.”

Lanley, however, showed more optimism. Citing successes in North Haverbrook, Springfield, and Brockway, he expressed confidence that the system was ready to handle DC’s heavy public transportation ridership. “Can it serve our nation’s seat of power?” said Lanley, “It will move 10,000 folks per hour.”

The streetcar project many hoped would bring economic growth to the H Street Corridor has become mired in budgetary disputes causing indefinite delays. Bowser admitted that Lanley’s estimate for the cost of a monorail system makes the idea of scrapping the streetcars easier to swallow. She emphasized the need to help the up and coming neighborhood, stating, “H Street continues to grow while being served only by bus lines. The monorail will only magnify that growth.” Lanely echoed the Mayor’s sentiment by adding, “If you want H Street to be a nightlife spot, Monorail’s the best chance you’ve got.”

When asked if he felt WMATA was equipped to handle the monorail’s advanced technology, Lanely replied in the affirmative. He added that he personally ensures that only the most qualified operators are entrusted with the system.

Nevada Man Ditches Family to Find Portrait Gallery’s Adult Wing

Tuesday morning, several docents at the National Portrait Gallery reported encountering a man, who Rock Creek Snark confirmed to be Geoff Baldwin of Henderson, Nevada, asking cryptic questions about an unknown wing of the museum. Andrew Donahey was the first volunteer to report being approached by Baldwin. “He came around the corner kinda speed walking,” said Donahey. “He made a beeline for me, so I just assumed he needed a bathroom.” However, Baldwin asked Donahey a series of vague questions about the museum’s offerings, making reference to “more mature exhibitions.” Donahey, who had just returned from vacation, offered to find another guide, thinking there might have been a new exhibition of which he was unaware. “I flagged down Margaret, but he ran off.”

It became clear that Baldwin had approached other docents prior to the interaction with Donahey. Mike Gilbert, a volunteer who usually works the presidential portrait room, claimed to have seen Baldwin earlier. Gilbert claimed, “He kept walking back and forth. Eventually, I asked if he had been separated from his family.” Baldwin responded that he was visiting alone. He then brought Gilbert to a portrait of former First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland and requested to see “something like this, but more.”

"Foxy" Frances Folsom Cleveland
“I thought he wanted more First Lady portraits,” Gilbert said. “But then he started asking about a back room.” Baldwin then allegedly became frustrated when Gilbert did not respond Baldwin wiggled his eyebrows and inquired about paintings for adults.

It appears that Baldwin’s claims of being alone at the Portrait Gallery were untrue. A woman claiming to be his wife was reported to have visited the information desk asking if he could be paged. Janelle Martin said that she spoke with a Mrs. Baldwin who was searching for her husband, a man who fit Geoff Baldwin’s description. “I told her that, while I couldn’t page him, he had been by the desk asking where the really artsy stuff was, and I had directed him to the contemporary portrait exhibition.”

Gilbert was last seen staring at a painting of Sonia Sotomayor.