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Relationships: To call each thing by its right name

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Matt Russell and I were musing in the office yesterday about the possibilities with February's first story theme: Relationships. We were talking about inanimate objects and why people name them.

Of the core staff, George Wietor has named his wireless router "BELMONDO" (that's right—all caps) after Jean-Paul Belmondo, a prominent French actor who got his start in the '60s. I once had a TV antenna shaped like a pterodactyl and named her "Calliope" because of a fondness for pterosaurs and musical names. Matt "I'm not a nerd" Russell declines to engage in such hijinks.

In movies, on TV, naming and labeling are often presented as the next level up. You name a dog and you've given yourself a way to distinguish it from every other dog. You name your car and you've begun a dynamic relationship. Naming is a form of commitment, a way of bringing things to life.

In the video above, I walked around Wealthy asking various characters what inanimate object they've named and why. Since I have no skills in Flip Cam editing, the obliging subjects were:

So, Grand Rapids: What have you named and why? Why do we name things? Answer all or none of those questions. Pose your own questions. We want to know!

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I call the roomba cheerio so I can yell at it.  Clean up this mess Cheerio!

I named my road bike Blue Bird the day I got her inspired by one of my favorite Kerouac haikus:

Black bird- no!

bluebird- pear

Branch still jumping


But on our first long ride together when she really stretched her wings for the first time I called out, "Welcome to the world, Baby Blue!"  And I think that was her way of telling me that's what she'd rather be called. 

I call my 2004 MINI Cooper, Midge. Midge was Barbie's (as in Barbie doll) best friend back when I was a kid. Midge had red hair and since my MINI is red, it seemed perfect that she is Midge.

Almost all of my objects have names. My computer, external hard drives, etc.

My Car is named Calvin and my Mountain Bike is Hobbes, because they travel together in the summer and go exploring to new places. 

Also one of my External HDs is named Voltron.

I give inanimate objects names in order to develop a more tangible human-like relationship with them.  The list of this undertaking is below.

My car:  sleek betty (origion unk) 

My IPOD:  Step to my beat (I was feeling hip-hoppy and wanted to throw down)

My external hard drive a)  what cha want b) what cha need (both names were a result of drinking and deciding that one would store my files no longer needed... an archive essentially, and the other files I need access to).  I would like to point out that artistry was not used in the creation of these names.  

So as you can see, I have formed a relationship with these objects; I converse with them, use their names in questions I pose to them...etc.  

Great question Denise.  :)

I can only come up with 1 inatimate object that I've ever named. It's my Canon point-and-shot camera, and it's name is DangerCam. It used to be AdventureCam (AdCam for short), but there were too many ripoffs, so mine evolved (like a Pokémon leveling up) into DangerCam. The name is fitting because it was the camera that was meant to be taken on adventures too dangerous for the expensive equipment, and danger seemed like a logical upgrade from adventure.

Strangely, my real camera has no name.

I don't think I put any stock in names. I forget people's names, or worse, get them mixed up. I prefer the more utilitarian approach, and would prefer to call my computer a computer, rather than "Mable", or whatever. It's more descriptive of it's function.

I named my baby's toys when I talk to him. I named his elephant toy "Ellie", his alien toy "Annie" and his octopus toy "Octy". :) I did it for purposes of interacting with his toys and whenever I tell him stories about his toys, he remembers their name.

I call my laptop Pinky just because she's pink and cute :)