Thursday, September 06, 2007

Look out! Things!

A quick dip into

Doc Nagel's Top 100 Things

74. Names for inanimate objects. I just love 'em. I have named most of my guitars, cars, and computers. I give ceremonial names to things, which I often don't remember, but that's okay because the names are meant for the ceremony anyway.

We spend Sunday morning from 11 until noon listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR, but before that comes on, we sometimes hear the end of Car Talk. Last week the Car Talk guys were making fun of people naming their cars. Although I don't believe naming a car is the performance of some kind of voodoo (or Christian Science), I do like to name cars. They seem to call for it, perhaps as vessels, but frankly because mass manufactured products often have more distinct personalities than we give them credit for (largely because of unique defects - cf. Jean Baudrillard, The System of Objects).

In any case, my first car, a 1978 Honda Accord hatchback with all the paint sandblasted off when it was driven for a year in Egypt by a colleague of my dad's, I immediately christened the William F. Buckley Jr. I had been obsessed with Buckley, the conservative columnist known best for his fantastic facility with specious argument and deliberately obscure vocabulary, since I started reading his column when I was 9. (Why I was reading Buckley at age 9, and why I enjoyed it, and why I understood it, are all probably best left unexamined.) So that was that.

The next car I owned was a crappy 1985 Dodge Daytona that I initially gave the name of an NPR classical music presented, Karl Hass, who started every broadcast by saying, "Hello everyone." The first thing that came on the radio of the Daytona, the first time I turned on the radio, was Karl Hass saying "Hello everyone." But before long the incredible rottenness of this alleged vehicle began to sink in, and I started to refer to it as the Detonate.

At present I drive a 2006 VW Jetta that we call Eddie Jetta, after a Weird Al Yankovic song called "My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder."

I've owned computers I've called Pornomatic and Crapola, and I've just named my nasty old Dell laptop, which we keep strictly to play PC games on, Deathtrap.


Bobo the Wandering Pallbearer said...

I guess you never did give that Neon a name, did you? I guess there never was any real need. I mean, after you've called it a Neon, what greater insult is there?

Doc Nagel said...

Actually, toward the end I started calling it Mr. Car. Generic, identity-less, but not really offensive.