Last week, things on my MacBook Pro 13 started getting weird. Suddenly, it didn’t recognize passwords that were in my Keychain and, when I typed in a password into the box that comes up in Apple Mail, it would work if I didn’t check the “save in my keychain” checkbox. Something was clearly wrong and other programs regarding passwords (Syrinx for instance) all started acting quite queer.

On Saturday, I spent about three hours on the phone with an Apple Care representative who finally suggested we do an entire system restoration using Time Machine from my Apple Time Capsule. The restoration took more than 17 hours so I didn’t see the results until the next morning. The screen said, “Restoration Successful, Click to Restart.” So, being an obedient sort of computer user, I clicked “restart” and then the fun really started. My MacBook Pro 13 did reboot but all that came up was a plain white screen with a colored pinwheel spinning (according to my sighted wife). This wasn’t exactly what I had expected. So, we called AppleCare for more help (I could have done this on my own had Apple not insisted in making Time Machine restorations completely inaccessible). After trying all kinds of other things and getting no better results, we erased the MacBook Pro 13 hard disk, reformatted and reinstalled the OS and Applications. Then, one folder at a time, we restored various essentials and, except that I’m missing a password or two and have had to ask that they be reset, things look pretty good.

At the end of our marathon session with the third AppleCare guy (he assumed that VMWare Fusion was the culprit as it loaded things before the login prompt) he gave me his personal Apple email address as he became really interested in accessibility on the Macintosh and I’m writing a book about it.

When he said that his last name was, “Stoner,” my wife chuckled. He jumped in with, “It’s not funny!” and, in all honesty, he didn’t get to pick his name but perhaps he’d have chosen a career like surf or ski bum instead of technical support where we tend to expect sober helpers.

This got me thinking about various odd names I’ve encountered over the years.

In high school, we were often seated alphabetically. This meant that I would sit behind a woman named, Linda Head and directly in front of another named Laurie Hooker. Caught between hooker and head generated high school hormone driven fantasies that I’m sure you, my loyal readers, could figure out on your own. If you can’t conjure such, get serious help.

In college, at NYU, I had a friend over in the film school named Richard Payne. It cannot be easy going through life named Dick Pain.

I have a friend named Roger Long. He promised that if he ever had a son, he would name the boy, Richard Brendan Long or Dick B. Long for short. I haven’t talked to Roger in quite a few years and don’t know if he and his wife have any children at all. Maybe I’ll look for him on Face Book or twitter.

One of the kids I went to elementary school with was named Mark and had a large, dark birthmark on one of his cheeks. This was not lost on the schoolyard bullies.

On Lake George, NY, probably in the town of Bolton Landing, there is a sign advertising, “Walter J. Law, Attorney.” What other profession could he have considered?

Calvo means bald in Spanish. I know a few Calvos and they all have hair.

I sign my emails with my initials, “cdh.” Our pet dog, Charlie, takes prescription medicine that we buy at Walgreens. The pharmacy requires all three name fields be filled in so we have prescription bottles that read, “Charles Dog Hofstader.” Can he sign emails “cdh” as well? I doubt we’ll be confused but I was the first cdh in this house and lay claim to the signature.

In Digby, Nova Scotia, a sign hangs reading, Edward Outhouse, Attorney at Law,” possibly the most honest name for one in that field.

Many years ago, I knew an opthemologist in Tyrone, Pennsylvania named Dr. Dollar. His son was named Bill Dollar and always wore a denim jacket with a dollar bill patch on the back. Bill Dollar, Dollar Bill, no matter how you put it was a first class dork.

Some academics did a study on how names could effect one’s career trajectory. They took a set of identical resumes and only changed the name, address and phone numbers on them. If I remember correctly, women with South Asian names, Lakshmi, Suman, Meeta, etc. were the most likely to get calls for an interview, very white protestant names, Robert Ambruster Woolridge Brauns, came in second, other white but ethnic names came in tied with East Asians for third, latinos came in fourth and in a distant last place were people with names like Rahim, Tyrone, Shantell and others that could be assumed to be African Americans. So much for equal opportunities when a resume that claims one graduated from Princeton with honors will land the Indian chick a gig and the black person won’t even get called for an interview. I heard of this study second hand so one might search or elsewhere to get some of the details.

I always wished that the former major league baseball player, Darrell Boston had played for the Red Sox. Of course, when Troy O’Leary played for the Sox, I assumed that, like much of Boston’s residence, he was Irish. I was actually very surprised when he turned out to be a black guy.

So, inspired by Mr. Stoner, I thought of these name stories while walking with my dog this morning and came home and wrote them down. I hope you find them a little amusing.


While walking the X-Dog this morning, I remembered exactly why I live in Florida during the “ugly” months up north. The sunshine on my face and the cool breeze off of the bay was perfect and X-Celerator liked it too.

— End.

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I'm an accessibility advocate working on issues involving technology and people with print impairment. I'm a stoner, crackpot, hacker and all around decent fellow. I blog at this site and occasionally contribute to Skepchick. I'm a skeptic, atheist, humanist and all around left wing sort. You can follow this blog in your favorite RSS reader, and you can also view my Twitter profile (@gonz_blinko) and follow me there.

One thought on “Names”

  1. Some people are stuck with such unfortunate names, but on the other hand we do tend to judge a book by its cover. When the cover doesn’t agree with the book, we’re at a loss as to how to treat people. Shame on us.

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