What’s in a name? Everything!

A “mini-pad,” really?

OK, so they pay some marketing group a boat load of cash to come up with a name like “iPad Mini?” Did they not think that people would shorthand it as “mini pad?” Which only leads me to ask what we should now call a regular sized iPad? That’s right. It’s a “Maxi pad.” I mean, seriously, nobody thought of that? Or else they did and were simply not deterred by the menstrual connection? Really?

Look, there are a host of poorly named products out there. There’s everything from Pee Cola to Barf laundry detergent. But most of the real doozies are from other countries and sound funny to us but really make sense in a different language. But for a company like Apple to just sort of miss this one seems like a colossal failure in the marketing research department.

The last product I remember with an equally bad name was the little chocolate chews my mom used to pop to help her stay slim. They were called “Ayds.” Remember them? Of course once the AIDS epidemic took center stage, the diet candies lost their appeal and left the marketplace.

I once found a guy in the phonebook named “Al Coholic.” No joke. I called him on the radio and asked him live, on-air, if he’d found it troublesome to go through life with a name like that. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. Like “Al Coholic” was just as vanilla a name as “John Smith,” which given Mr. Smith’s heroic notoriety, is sort of amusing since his name has come to stand for the epitome of unremarkable, trite and ordinary.

When we first were convinced that my youngest son, in utero, was going to be a girl, I thoughtfully presented the name option of “Leah” to my husband Mark. He just stared at me in disbelief. “Lay-a-Gettleman?” he quarried, “”That’s not a name, it’s a sentence.” I had to admit he had a point. I just hadn’t thought of it.

Which brings me back to the whole Kotex thing. I mean sure, people make mistakes. We’re all human. But when you’re a multi-billion dollar company, like Apple, you sort of expect more. Unless…maybe they’re going after that ever-so-elusive, older, female demographic. I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe they deliberately named their new device after an outdated feminine hygiene product to try and attract the gals who grew up using those “mini pads.” Now that is ingenious.

Expand the market share from dweebie, gen-y males to mature, married chicks, 54 plus. Hmmm???? Clever move. Boy those guys at Apple are ahead of the curve.

I met the devil and she drinks Absolut Cosmopolitans

I had this plaque in my room when I was growing up. My parents must’ve given it to me. I recently gifted it to my older son who thought it was just…weird. It had a Tennyson quote on it that read, “Once in a golden hour, I cast to earth a seed. Up there came a flower, the people said a weed.” I told my friend about it today, lamenting yet another rejection notice I’d received. She was stunned. Not that I’d gotten the rejection. I mean, she likes my writing and all, but rejection is a part of the biz. No, she was visibly dismayed by the plaque. “Why would anyone give a child something so…negative?” She asked.

“I never thought of it as negative,” I defended. “Just an accurate state of the world. I knew from a very young age that life would be full of naysayers who wouldn’t necessarily appreciate my artistic vision. As an artist, that kind of personal and societal awareness has served me well.”

“Really?” She inquired. “Perhaps it was more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean given all the motivational quotes in the world, why didn’t they put up a photo of Henry Ford that said, “Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” Kids are very impressionable, you know.”

She then admitted that her folks had hung a large picture of a can-can dancer in her childhood bedroom, complete with pouffy red crinoline, black bustier and fish net stockings. “And what did I do?” she challenged, “I became a Rockette.” It’s true. She really did become a Rockette. I had to concede. It seemed like more than mere happenstance.

I heard this author on NPR the other day say that boys named Dennis have a significantly higher likelihood of becoming dentists. Really? I mean the words do in fact sound alike. Could that really be a way of subconsciously directing an offspring’s career path? The author also said that Larrys were more apt to be lawyers. My friend, Barry, is a lawyer. Barry…Barrister. Hmmm??? I wonder if you named your kid “Imogene” if they’d be destined towards Radiology. I once knew this old lady named “Honey.” She was definitely overweight. Are most “Rosenblums” florists? What about “Dicks” are they disproportionally flocking to the field of Urology or private investigating? This opens a whole new world of possibilities for our children.

I did notice (only recently) that the letters in my son Levi’s name can be rearranged to make the word “L I V E.” That was pretty cool until a pal pointed out that with yet another letter shift you got the word “E V I L.” Damn. I even screw up subconsciously.

The point is that everything we do, say, or hang in our kids’ rooms really does matter. That’s like my worst nightmare. Translated, it means I really do have to obsess over each and every not so great parenting moment. Argh! How can a person live knowing this?

I once met this woman at a party. My kids were tiny. Hers were grown. I was in some state of distress over where to send them for preschool or something. She put her arm around me and took me aside. Then with the calmest, most assured voice I’d ever heard she said, “Debra, all of these little decisions you’ll be faced with over the years, the minuscule choices you’ll have to make, Just remember, every single one of them…matters more than you can ever know.” She then smiled and wandered back to the bar to refill her Cosmopolitan.

I sat there dumbfounded for a moment. Did she really just say that? Was she trying to curse me? I think I left the party shortly thereafter, no longer in a particularly festive mood, now that I was shouldered with the weight of the world. But just as I got into my car to set out for home, I remembered that this prophetic woman’s name might hold the key to her enigmatic comments. Her name you see was Lucy. Hmmm…sounds a lot like Lucifer, don’t ya think?

What’s in a name? Everything!

Serious question: Is it okay to call your spouse “mom” or “dad” or any derivation thereof? I’m not judging. It just seems weird to me. I admit that sometimes I refer to myself as “mommy.” Like when I say to my kids, “Mommy is tired right now and needs a few more sips of her Grey Goose Martini. I’ll join you in a few minutes…” And there are plenty of times when I say things like, “Why don’t you go and ask Daddy to help you open that ridiculously packaged toy that even a safe-cracker would have trouble unhinging.”

But I consciously try very hard not to call my husband “daddy.” That just seems so…so…Oedipal or Electra or whatever you call it. But I’ve noticed that lots of parents do that. So I’m wondering, is it just me or is this a little demented? I mean, are there statistics on couples who call each other parental names? Do they end up divorced more frequently? Or more likely, do they find themselves in safe but frigid marriages that are more based on codependency than mutual respect and attraction?

Every once in a while my husband will slip and call me “mom.” Boy does my ire-o-meter go off. “First of all, I am not your mother,” I immediately bite back, “I don’t want that job and frankly you couldn’t pay me enough to take on that responsibility.” (Note to readers, my hubbie’s mom is a lovely woman whom I happen to adore. Still, I don’t really know how she managed to allow my husband to grow into adulthood without turning to drugs, alcohol or cutting out his tongue.)

But the bigger question is, “Doesn’t calling your wife ‘mommy’ somehow destroy the passion in your physical relationship?” I mean the connotations are just…just…icky. I can’t be the only person who notes this and is bothered by it. Can I?

Please, tell me the truth. If you call your husband “daddy,” are you secretly wishing he’d pull you into his strong arms and tickle you till you puked as opposed to enfolding you into a romantic embrace that leads to a different kind of ecstasy? Is the whole “mommy” thing proof that you no longer see your wife as the lustful, erotic goddess she once was, and have now relegated her to the lowly position of chief cook, laundress and child-care provider?

I am troubled by this. Set me straight.