Saturday, February 5, 2011

Do You Live Up to Your Name?

Following a recent event involving a potential client and desperately needed income that didn’t materialize, I emailed an update to several interested friends. One scribed back that the prospect “has just lived up to his last name.”

Clever guy! Why hadn’t I thought of that?

I was still in shock.

My friend’s statement reminded me of a story I’d read in a 1988 USA Weekend about people’s careers coinciding with their last names. “Chiropractors named Bonebrake, doctors named Blood, ministers named Lord, dentists named Smiley and Brush, undertakers named Dye.” For that article, others submitted their names and related professions:

Barker, veterinarian
Burns, fire inspector
Hammer, hardware store owner
Looney, psychiatrist
Sparrowe, ornithologist
Lt. Speedy, state highway patrol
Suing, lawyer
Watts, power company official
Yawn, sleep disorder center manager

Thinking about this led me to draw upon a few friends’ names and their fields of expertise. For my female friends, I used their née names (sounds like a stammer, doesn’t it?), except for one, who said her married name suits her better. Let’s see if any could consider changing profession or name, as I did in ’86.

Surname (definition): former or current occupation [Auntie note]

Byers (dairy or other cattle farmer, one of the earliest recorded surnames): printing-business owner, marathoner, running-footwear specialist [one of my earliest Colorado friends; rather than rearing ruminants, he’s commingled with canines]
Craft (strength, skill): respected, conscious, skilled business owner, no matter which craft he has chosen
Farris (valiant warrior, farrier, blacksmith): she owned a horse, then a veterinary hospital [and valiantly raised three talented children]
Faucett (multicolored, flowery hillside): multitalented artist and spirited, enthusiastic teacher [who’s been one of my best influences for 33 years]
Fisher (fisher): software developer, troubleshooter extraordinaire, BGF, always fishing for solutions
Griffin (definitely a mythical creature): actor, producer, voice talent
Groat (silver coin worth four old pence): Harvard-educated marketeer, school bus driver [worth his weight in gold]
Hackworth (mystery name, first recorded in Devon, whose origin evades genealogists before 1663; probably a habitation name, Haca’s enclosure): landscape architect, business owner, pilot [has the need to escape his enclosure to explore the world]
Hall (one who lived in or near a large house, or hall): piano player, sound engineer, sound studio owner, composer of works for full orchestra, concertos, and chamber ensembles that are played in huge halls
Harloff (strong, brave wolf): U.S. Navy, genius, can do anything, notorious musician—banjo, concertina, fiddle, guitar—sounds like a dirty, ol’ wolf when he does his best Arte Johnson’s Tyrone F. Horneigh [whack!]
Hoffman (farmer): financial services advisor* [tills our fertile globe to grow investments]
Kugizaki (kugi means nail, zaki means point): artist, graphic designer, fine woodworker, cabinet maker [by viewing his new site,** his name hits the nail on the head, ahh, point]
Menza (middle, small stature): refueling, transport, and smaller jet pilot, USAFA Chinese History professor, attorney, writer, overall bright, shortish, fun guy
Mullin (monk, holy man, or if English, miller): musician, Mensa man, inventor, business owner, satellite communications [blessed with intelligence in more fields than a jealous God, but Mullin’s graciously humble]
Phillips (lover of horses): radio station manager, pilot, B-737 CFI, business owner [lover of things that fly, so his horse is a Boeing Pegasus]
Promack (no definitions found that aren’t Apple related, but she has deep meaning to me): dentist, massage therapist, Trager practitioner
Rice (ardour, enthusiastic): teacher, passionate manager of environmental discovery center
Roach (someone who lives by a rocky crag): cinematographer, pilot, sailor
Samolinski (hmm, salmon-shaped boards for strapping on feet and sliding down hills): nearly priest, electrician
Wolfe (cunning, ferocious wolf hunter): woodworking craftsman, ferocious sound engineer [he recently gave up hunting…anything]
Wood (forester, resident of the woods): math professor, systems engineer, symphony-notes writer, arts aficionado, and helper of this writer-editor to find the forest for the trees, to grasp the real issue whilst not overattending to details. How appropriate is that?

I hadn’t considered the prospect’s last name in doing my usual due diligence, but had I blended it with the statement, “My handshake is good,” after saying we didn’t need a written agreement, it might have piqued my mind.

And although my handshake is also good (from milking cows back in Wisconsin), so is my word.

* I will not spell it adviser unless someone pays me to.
** Great site! [happy birthday, DK]

Name definitions came from the 2005 Oxford dictionary on my iBook and the following sites:,

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