Dropping Names

What defines a man or woman? For me, names can say a lot.
February 11, 2009
I haven't written an article in a while. I've had a lot of things come up in my life, from familial to work-related. Things seem to be once more on an even keel, so it's back once more to the keyboard, and it feels good.

Today, I would like to talk about names. I've been on many message boards throughout the years, and threads have often come up regarding names. I've started some, and participated in ones started by others. Almost invariably, my choices have been laughed at and I've had to suffer the eye-rolling smiley, even on here.

So I would now like to share some names and what they mean to me. These names come from people, both real and fictional, who have impacted my pop-cultural tastes.

As it always is with me, ladies first.

1.) I like the name Belle.

I saw "Beauty And The Beast" in its' first theatrical release all the way back in 1991. From the first time I saw it, I thought that Belle was a beautiful name.

When I hear the name Belle, I imagine someone just as the character (voiced by Paige O'Hara) was in the movie. I imagine a woman who is unique, someone above others yet humble about it, someone who is inquisitive about the world at large.

Belle is my second-favorite Disney Princess. I see something of myself reflected in her. That would be a love of books. As she is a fictional character, so she reads books of fiction. I'm a real person, and so I like my stories real...You know, who was snorting what, who was fucking who, the chaos that may seem unreal but it is. Still, we use books as a form of escape.

I associate the name Belle with a need to learn, but I've ran this name by several people, and most say that it's not so good. Some people even said it was a name they would give their dog.

I've gotten somewhat better results with the next name. That name?

2.) Rachael

I discussed Sean Young's "Blade Runner" character in my article "Some Of My Fave 80s Women", but I'd like to bring her up again.

When I hear the name Rachael, I think of humanity. Although she is a Replicant, to paraphrase the movie, I think she's "more human than human". She displays a combination of strength and weakness that's very honest. It seems like a decent amount of people I know tend to go from one extreme mood to another without stopping in the middle. Rachael is a name that evokes ideas of centering and stability...Things that don't always come naturally to many people.

I've tried this name out on others, and most like it, but one person objected when I bought up the spelling I used for it. Maybe if this person saw "Blade Runner", they might understand what I was getting at.

Now, we move on to:

3.) Katherine/Catherine (Kate/Cate).

I'll watch TCM on occasion, and what I've seen of Katherine Hepburn's work, I've enjoyed. Katherine is a name that, to me, evokes sophistication and elegance. The name is still in use to this day, but not as much as it once was.

Today, we live in a society that gives children names like Apple and Pilot Inspektor. Those names have a quirkiness about them that's not really all that good. Katherine, on the other hand, is a name that evokes a period in cinema of glamour...The clinking of champagne glasses, the ritzy dances that only the rich could pull off, the rapid-fire dialogue which could speak of love or hate without resorting to "fucks" and "shits" (I am a vulgarian, but not everything I watch has profanity in it).

I also think that Cate could be a good alternate as well, and that's because of Cate Blanchett, who took home an Oscar in 2005 for playing Katherine Hepburn in one of my favorite Scorcese movies, "The Aviator". I saw that when I visited the AMC 20 at Walt Disney World's Downtown Disney in 2005. I saw it a day or two after Blanchett took home her Best Supporting Actress Oscar, and she definitely deserved it. Her portrayal of Hepburn was crackling and witty, yet moving at the same time, much like Hepburn herself was.

Cate may be a somewhat unconventional spelling, but at least it's better than a name like Stalker, Prancer or Thing 1 and Thing 2 (and if you know where those names come from, you get 10 points and control of the board).

Onward to:

4.) Lucinda

This may be venturing into uncertain territory, but the name Lucinda should be familiar to many 80s movie fans. I got it from Lucinda Dickey, star of the "Breakin'" movies. To me, Lucinda is a name that evokes movement, not standing still but instead a name of grace and, at the same time, defiance.

Many people, even those who like the "Breakin'" movies, have demeaned them as "cheesy", and as someone who abandoned that word long ago, it's pretty annoying. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing shabby and/or cheap about these movies. I see the moves that the dancers do, and they are something of amazement and color, especially the moves of Lucinda, known as Special K in the two movies.

Dance is something I think we all enjoy, even though some are annoyed by it (David Bowie has stated regrets over his "Let's Dance" period, for example. I love that time period, though.). It doesn't matter how you do it...Just follow Rihanna's words and "Shut Up And Dance". Lucinda is a perfect dancer's name.

We now wrap things up for the girls with:

5.) Andrea.

I have no picture to accompany this name. Instead, it comes from a woman I knew during my school years. My teachers may have liked my writing, but only when I stayed within their contexts. If I were to venture outside those barriers, though, I was questioned and laughed at.

In my 11th Grade year, I ventured outside BOCES for the first and only time in my high school life by being part of the Yearbook Club. It was a great chance to work with normal people. I met a girl there named Andrea Burack. i didn't put any moves on her (I was still dating my girlfriend), but she provided me with inspiration merely by enjoying my writing...All of it. She gave me a lot of encouragement, encouragement that I unfortunately didn't receive much of from the teachers.

I didn't see her again until this year. I was pushing carts at Wal-Mart and I saw her. We had a brief chat and I told her of how I had been looking for her for years. I asked her if she had an e-mail address so I could e-mail her some of my work for this site. She said she didn't, and shortly after that, she, her husband and their child drove away. It was a pleasure to see her again, yet it's pain to know that she may never see my work.
I'll keep hoping that she does, though. I hope that anybody from my high school years will see my work, if only so I could show them that I thrived even despite what I had to deal with during those years.

Now, let's not neglect the men, either. Here are 5 guy names I like.

1.) Roderick

I got this from the name Roderick George Toombs, the real name of famed wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper.

To me, Roderick is a name indicating quickness of mind. Piper is a master of words and deeds, both of which prove how tough he is. In my YouTube favorites, I have a promo that Roddy cut back before he joined what was then known as the WWF. To prove how eager he was to win a match against the Sheepherders (later to become The Bushwhackers in the WWF), he smashed a glass bottle against his head, and as a crimson mask covered his face, he expressed an intensity that spoke of a man who was willing to do anything to succeed. Some view that as ruthlessness...I view it as strength.

Speaking of which, now we go to:

2.) Tony.

I got the name from, of course, the Al Pacino version of "Scarface".

Let me once again state that I do not approve of drug dealing. What I do approve of with Tony Montana, though, is confidence. When I spoke of that in my article "Holding Patterns", one person said:

"It has nothing to do with confidence. It was about a man who did whatever it took to get money, power & respect. That is the message that young kids are getting from it. The message to take no shit, not be confident."

In response, I said:

"...to me, taking no shit from anyone is part of being confident. If you're not confident, then the chances are very good that you have no intentions of standing up for yourself, thus setting yourself up to get walked all over."

I'm not the most confident of people in the world, but I am getting there, and when I think of confidence, for better or for worse, the name Tony springs immediately to mind.

On a similar tack, let's go to:

3.) Roger, as in Moore.

Roger Moore isn't looked upon as one of the best men to play James Bond, but he's my personal favorite. When I think of his portrayal of Bond, I think of him as a man who is easy-going and relaxed even under the most dire of pressure.

To me, that's what the name Roger means...A sense of cool that doesn't always come easy to people in bad situations. I once again think of the fire truck chase from "A View To A Kill". As I wrote in "Some Of My Fave 80s Women", Stacey Sutton (Tanya Roberts) is on edge when behind the wheel of this fire truck. Bond, on the other hand, is a little nervous but still rather unflappable, even when dangling from a ladder above a busy street. I've been in less dire situations but reacted in shocking ways. When I think of the name Roger, I think of someone who has seen a lot of crazy stuff, but has managed to get through with his sanity intact, a hot girl on his arm and, in his hand, a martini...Shaken, not stirred.

Onward to:

4.) Walter.

Walter is a name that I associate with creativity, as based on director Walter Hill and the legendary Walt Disney (full name: Walter Elias Disney).

Walter Hill has come up with many interesting concepts. For example, it's been said that his movie "The Warriors" was a variation on The Battle Of Thermopylae, which also served as an inspiration for the 2007 movie "300". Taking a historical event and dropping it into the then-contemporary midst of late-70s New York City was a very creative idea, and one that is still gaining fans to this day.

Now we come to Walt Disney. He's probably one of the most significant influences on my life. The movies and cartoons he created helped inspire me even when times got rough. I've taken the characters to heart, looking to them as examples of stand-up people, even if they aren't human. As I briefly touched upon in 2006's "Don't Call Me A Poser!", Mickey Mouse struck me as real for several years when I was younger. Other kids would seize this opportunity to yell at me "Mickey Mouse is dead!" over and over again. In retrospect, I knew he wasn't real, but what he embodied, standing up for others and always being cheerful, was something that I aspired to. I've always made an effort to reach out to people in need. My parents influenced me on that front, and I think that Mickey Mouse did, too. That's how much Disney's work touched me.

To cap it off, here is:

5.) Tom.

It may seem like a generic name, but it's a name that speaks of calm, as evidenced by Tom Selleck.

What do I mean by "calm" when talking about Selleck? I have another favorite video in my YouTube profile. That's a video of when Selleck appeared on "The Rosie O'Donnell Show" back in 1999. O'Donnell cornered him into an argument on gun control. O'Donnell, defending the idea of gun control, became loud and obnoxious, as she usually is, but Selleck never engaged her anger. He spoke calmly and unflappably. His words were measured and he never raised his voice. I've gotten into many arguments over my life, and I have gotten rather loud and angry, but I'm slowly but surely moving past that. I aspire to have Tom's sense of patience...I do have patience, but I'm not fully there yet. Tom was, and to me, Tom means being measured.

I may have chosen some odd names throughout the years, but I hope this article has shed some light on the idea of what's in a name.

With that, the floor is open for discussions:

Does a name mean anything to you, or is it just something that's there? Are there any names you like? Are there any names you think are odd?
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