What’s in a Name?
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” In this case, I think Shakespeare got it wrong. Would we revere this flower’s iconic scent if it was really named hideous maximus horriblous or pink excrement on a thorny stick? I think not.
Names are terribly important to our perception of the objects, animals and people we encounter, although we may not always realize it. The subject of names is on my mind lately since so many of my friends and colleagues are having babies these days. The names of choice have been really charming, often referencing cherished ancestors who have long since passed, or names relevant to the family’s heritage.
The naming game is an epic one at Beekman farm, where Brent and Josh excitedly await the names of the newborn goats, names which are almost always chosen by the great Farmer John. He has never wavered from his naming system and it has never failed. No goat at Beekman has the name of another goat (Brent tells me there has never been a duplicate) and each name begins with the first initial of the kid’s mother. We’ve all seen photos of the fabulous Faintly, whose name is probably my personal favourite. (Settle down now, Polka Spot! Settle down!)
Names are like beautiful accessories to our personalities and personas. Most of us will only have one name in our lifetime, unless we decide to take the surname of a spouse or legally change it to shirk off any unwanted connotations. Our names are emblazoned on our mail, our passports, our deeds and credit cards. It is inscribed on our birth certificates and it will be chiseled into our grave stones. In many ways, it is our most valuable intagible possession.
We’d love to hear some of your favourite names in the comments section below. Just for fun, try also naming these quirky zoological characters, artistically photographed and collaged by Yago Partal, one of my favourite photographers. These furry fashionistas are crying out for great names!
To see more of Yago Partal’s zoo portraits, click here. You can also order prints.
Visit Yago Partal’s website to see more of his photographs and portraits.