Opinion

EDITOR'S COLUMN: We can't all afford to name things

If only I had something worth naming.

This sentiment is unavoidable for anyone who tours Oak Harbor Marina and doesn’t have a boat himself. Or herself. Almost all of the boats in the marina have names, and all of the big ones do. Naturally, the names are as individual as the people doing the naming. There’s King Rat, owned, perhaps, by an exterminator. And lyrical names like Lora-a-Lee, Tranquility and Valhalla Princess. Silly names, like Snake Hipps, Breaking Wind, Hydro Therapy, and The Farmer’s Daughter. Sentimental names, like Paradise, Dreamer and Carolina Girl. And telling names, like Keeper, Anomaly III, Refuge and Another Whim.

Whatever the name, it’s got to be nice to have acquired something in life that’s worth naming. That usually means a large boat, or perhaps an airplane like the Spruce Goose or Enola Gay. It can also mean a house if you’re super wealthy. These kind of people don’t go home, they go back to San Clemente, Windsor Castle or San Simeon.

Since my recent visit to Oak Harbor Marina, I’ve thought about naming some of my stuff. But names just don’t seem to fit. Sure, I’ve got a boat, but it’s only 10-feet long. “Shorty,” is too embarrassing, and I’m not into cute names, like “Paid For.” I could call it “Mistake,” since I’ve only used it once in five years, but that name could fit any boat. So it goes nameless as it takes up space under a blue tarp in the back yard.

Cars for some reason are unworthy of their own names, other than the one the manufacturers sticks on them. Even the rich avoid naming their cars, even if they cost more than their boats. “I think I’ll drive Envy II over to the marina and got for a sail on Blind Ambition,” must sound a bit hoity toity even for them. Poorer people don’t even call their cars by their given names. In my family, my wife drives the blue car and I drive the white one. The kids drive the dented ones. If we ever buy a car made in the present millennium, maybe we will proudly call it by its manufacturer’s name: “I think I’ll take the Yugo today.”

As I recall, we named the kids when they were born because the hospital required it. But mostly I think of them in terms of age, as in the old one, the middle one and the little one. If I gave them boat names, it would have to be in financial terms, such as Almost Paid For, Save Your Money, and College Loan.

Kids, of course, never call their parents by name. It’s always mom and dad or some variation thereof. We’re lucky kids don’t name their parents like people name their boats. I’d be at risk of being fondly referred to as Old Fogey, Over the Hill, Retread or Bypass.

It appears that naming regular stuff just won’t work. Some day perhaps I’ll acquire a boat worth naming, and I’ll give it an appropriate moniker. Most likely, it’ll be “Somebody Else’s.”

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