Countdown to 1,000

They’re lurking everywhere. Ironic names, that is.

In the newspaper. On TV. In radio stories. And of course, on the Internet. A few of my recent favorites are gun rights advocate Amy Hunter, clean energy promoter Jay Cole and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Nicole Coffin.

My Wacky News Names book, which is filled with such aptronyms or apt names, came out a few years ago. But that didn’t stop me from collecting. In fact, I’ve found and noted about 260 more names since the book was published and am only four names away from totaling 1,000!

Collecting these names is word play, plain and simple. Many are really obvious like a realtor named Amy Agent or a singer named Eddie Cantor. But sometimes they’re just funny! Dick Bacon was a Milwaukee guy known for sun tanning all year round. R.O. Crapo authored a report on toxic manure. Thank you, Eric Korbitz. Yes, I have observant friends who feed my addiction.

These are all real names, even if some are hard to believe. You just need a little faith. Perhaps visit the congregation led by Pastor Wilfredo De Jesus. If he can’t inspire you, maybe Roger DePriest’s biblical counseling service might do the trick.

When I did an interview with Channel 3 regarding Wacky News Names, anchor Eric Franke mentioned that in his business, some weather broadcasters make up their names. As an example, he told me about the meteorologist Dallas Raines, an obvious fake. I’d never heard of the guy. But after that interview I checked, and sure enough, there is a weather guy by that name. I also found that his relatives detailed their family history to prove that Raines is indeed his real name!

Sure, it’s hard to imagine that Linda Finger became a gynecologist, or that John Grade is an education professor, or that officer Tom Jones arrested David Cassidy. But these people live and breathe, as reported in newspapers and other media every single day.

I’ve even met a few of these folks in person. I was lucky enough to dine with Dr. Frankenstein himself in Sacramento about five years ago. He penned the foreword to my book.

Of course, I wonder if a guy named Ed Wall was destined to become a corrections secretary or whether it is only a coincidence. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. The serendipity of the name discoveries is what makes it so enjoyable for me.

So after about thirty years, I am up to 996 names! The next four may be discovered in a couple of weeks. Maybe sooner or much later. You just never know. Sometimes there’s a drought and I don’t notice any for quite a while.

The only thing I can tell you for sure about this phenomenon is that I am grateful that I’ve never been a patient of vasectomy specialist Richard Chopp.

Posted on August 6, 2016 .