Wednesday, April 6, 2011

the naming of names: a timeline

As you likely know, if you’ve read any of Princess’ senseless ramblings, Princess' sense of personification is in overdrive. Yesterday she can recall at least three solid interactions she had with her breakfast banana. The first was that when she picked it up out of the fruit bowl, she answered it like a telephone, as has become her habit. The second was when she peeled it and named it Nanny. The third occurred after she ate it, and had to throw the peel out the window (nourish the grass, Nanny!), and it's octopus-like legs inspired her to change its name to Nannerpuss, after the best Denny's commercial ever, interpreted here by one fabulously artistic coworker:

Princess digresses. The point Princess is trying to make is that this excessive interaction with inanimate objects has caused her to name many, many things in her life. It has contributed greatly to her over-sentimentality to random items (thus ensuring a future of hoarding) and the sense that everything has a soul (though theologically, she does not believe this, especially not in a “Thank you lettuce for dying so that I may have nourishment” way à la Drew Barrymore). Nevertheless, she recommends this type of habit because Princess regularly feels surrounded by friendly faces, except of course when they turn on her. Here is a historical account of her naming abilities:

3 years- Princess has a baby doll she names Baby Angel. Later, Baby Angel loses all the eyelashes on her left eye and begins to look more like a demon than an angel, yet Princess cannot do away with her, because, hello, she has a name and chunking her in the trash would likely hurt her feelings, and Princess can’t live with that.

6 years- Princess begins to wish her name was Tiffany or Crystal, and selects these types of names for her Barbies, especially the red-headed Irish Barbie, who was Princess' favorite, but shhhhh don't tell the others.

8 years- Princess has 10,000 stuffed animals and gives each a name and a personality. Later she gets stressed out because she can’t keep up with all the names and really doesn’t want to hurt their feelings so she begins to keep a chart. As a result, she develops OCD and skills that will later make her a spreadsheet genius.

9 years- Princess, her siblings, and their friends Claire and Abby play dogs, a game that continues for the next four years, despite the fact that Princess and Claire become waaaaay too old for this to be cute. Princess’ dog name is Frankie, and he is a wiener dog. She always felt that this was the best of all the dog names, and obviously, she is right.

10 years- Princess and her brother want to name their new chocolate lab “Champ” because he is their hero. Clever little sister says, “How about Vanilla?” Everyone laughs, except Princess and Brother because they sense that their choice is threatened by this clearly superior idea. The dog is named Vanilla, and it couldn’t have been a more appropriate name. This marks the one and only time Princess has not come up with the best name ever, except for the Snowman incident, which was more of a medical issue than personal failure (see 11 years). It also marks a time for reflection: If Princess has such anxiety over getting rid of Baby Angel, how could she cope with an actual death of an actual animal? Vanilla died last year (after being serenaded by Princess’ original song entitled “Oh Vanilla Eat Some Bacon”) and no one in Princess’ family held it together. They threw a Vanilla Party in his honor and ate hot dogs and vanilla wafers and wore buttons featuring items Vanilla liked to eat (bananas and underwear and the like). This has been added to Princess' list of Stories to Tell on Another Day. Behold, the best dog ever:
11 years- Princess’ appendix inexplicably and dramatically ruptures on her family ski trip and she now matches Madeline, though this is no consolation. Her aunt sends a stuffed snowman to the hospital as a gift. He is the softest, cuddliest, happiest thing she’s ever owned, and she loves him so much and is so traumatized by the situation that all her naming powers are temporarily placed in a jar with the remains of her appendix, and she can only call him Snowman. Later Snowman turned brown and sad and Princess’ brother called him "nasty." Princess hates Brother when she remembers this.

15 years- Princess reads her sister's Mary Kate and Ashley magazine and realizes that her dream job is naming nail polishes. She does not know how to obtain this kind of job, and she is still trying to figure that out. Any advice is appreciated.

16 years- Princess gets her license and begins driving a gold Taurus, which she names Tallulah, because she heard that name in Cool Runnings and she likes alliteration. Tallulah and Princess had many good times together. Later, when she is 20.5-years-old, Princess’ faithful Taurus and Chuck the Duck (the quacking sound that came from Tallulah’s back right door during the last years of her life) die tragically on the side of the interstate. Princess and her friend Allie are picked up by a man they think is from AAA, but is actually just a random tower who saw them stranded. This man, Charles, takes them to the nearest town (Macon, Georgia), where they walk around for an hour trying to find an ATM so they can pay him. The longer story should be told another day, as it is quite the adventure, but suffice it to say, 16 hours later, Princess and Allie, who are too young to rent a car (20.5 instead of 21) and must become creative, finally arrive at their destination. She never saw Tallulah again. Again, Princess has filed this under Stories to Tell Another Day.

18 years- Princess receives an iPod Nano, which she names Nanette. Nanette is still is Princess’ possession and it as adorable as ever, though obviously outdated. (Thank you Apple, for ruining everyone's birthday and Christmas gifts by coming out with new stuff.)

18.5 years- Princess’ then-boyfriend but now-husband gives her a guitar! She is ecstatic and names it Gilly. She practices until people in her dorm ask her to be quiet. Then she gets sad and puts Gilly away. She’s been ignoring her ever since and has major guilt about it, so don’t bring it up. She tried to take lessons last summer to reunite with Gilly but it didn’t work. Here's hoping for this summer! Don't give up on Princess, Gilly. You will be in her arms again soon.

19 years- Princess and her roommate adopt a bizarre plant they inexplicably fall in love with at Wal-Mart. They inexplicably name him (it?) Stanley. Princess paints his home. Stanley is never watered, but survives dorm life, inexplicably.
19.75 years- Dad surprises her with a TV! Princess names it Telly and takes pictures hugging it.

20 years- Princess’ friends surprise her with a pink blender. Princess is ecstatic! Not only because of the color and because it was exactly what she wanted, but because it was a fantastic opportunity for naming. She originally wanted to name it Glenda the Blenda’, as a tribute to Wicked and the appliance’s rosy shade, but for some reason felt drawn to the name Ms. Nancy Bobo, a combination of her friend Ashley’s piano teacher (Ms. Nancy), and Princess’ piano teacher (Ms. Bobo). Princess and Ms. Nancy Bobo have had many good times together. Ms. Nancy Bobo charitably lent her services at Vanilla Party last year, whipping up fantastically tasty vanilla ice cream-based chocolate milkshakes in honor of Vanilla, the best chocolate lab ever. Cheers to you, Ms. Nancy Bobo.
20.75 years- The carless Princess is soon surprised by her dad with her DREAM CAR!!! A silver Volkswagen Beetle she immediately names Babs. The name was sent down from heaven on a dove (okay, not really), and it was a truly glorious moment. Later Princess runs into the people Mum and Dad bought the car from, and the lady’s name? Oh, it’s Babs. (Princess TOLD YOU she was good at this.)

21 years- Princess and Sister met the meanest old lady ever at their grandparent’s retirement home. Her name is Beverly and they make the word a synonym for that other b-word. They enjoy calling people Beverlies, especially their dog Killer, who has an attitude problem. This doesn't really have anything to do with naming people, but Princess doesn't apologize for this because sometimes she doesn't like to follow her own rules.

22 years- Husband forces Princess to get an iPhone, which she is not happy about until she buys a fantastic case. Princess names the phone Ida B. Wells, unaware of how she came up with the name. She googles it and finds out that she was a women's rights activist. Princess hopes Ida would be honored that a phone with a very cute case bears her name.

23 years- Princess’ sister goes away to college and needs to borrow her pink backpack. Princess allows this, but includes a note that describes Jackie the Backpackie’s name and personality and that Sister is to take especially good care of her.

23.5 years- Princess receives a sewing machine for Christmas and names it Betsy, after Betsy Ross, who sewed the first flag. She hopes her favorite Social Studies teacher, Mr. Lando, would be proud of her, although she is unaware whether she memorized this factoid in his class or not.

Today: Princess realized that truthfully, she does not name ALL things. It occurred to her yesterday that she does not name her shoes. And this is weird, because she loves at least three pairs of her shoes quite passionately, and she names all things she loves passionately and even things she only kind of likes. She typically just calls them by their brand or their color, which is annoying because it makes her feel like the kind of girl who says, “So I slid on my Tori Burches, grabbed my Louie, sprayed on some Marc Jacobs, and sped away in the BMW so I wouldn’t be late for Junior League.” [Sidenote: Young children from wealthy families typically know three times as many words as children in poverty because they hear sentences like these rather than “I put on my shoes and got in the car.” So in a sense, it’s a valuable way to talk as long as you don’t raise a tribe of snobs.] Princess is currently working on non-elitist names for her shoes, which should not be that hard since most of them aren't that expensive thanks to Target.

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