My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Tuesday, May 8

Punny Names

Years and years ago I read a book by John Cheever, The Wapshot Chronicle, I think it was called. The father of the main character had spent a lifetime collecting names based on puns and wordplay such as “Sally Forth,” the name of a comic strip character, or “Rick O’Shay”, a Saturday morning cartoon character. I knew from my misspent youth a number of such names, like the sister and brother duo “Eileen and Ben Dover,” even that unfortunate Chinaman with a hernia, “Wun Hung Lo.” But Cheever’s character was the first I’d encountered who made a hobby of such name collecting. Without consciously deciding to do so, I too became a “nymismatist.” Now, years later, the compulsion continues, but it’s beginning to drive me crazy.

Being a student of literature, I early encountered the young Englishwoman, “Judy Obscure”; the Spanish seƱora, “Barbara Savill”; the stout old English gentleman, “Toby R. Nottaby” (I could hardly overlook Shakespeare); the two friends of the Mad Hatter, “Allison VanDerLind” and “Trudy Lukenclass”; and finally the overweight Russian gentleman, “Warren Pees.”

But aside from literature, the more I looked, the more names appeared to me: “Gideon Payle,” “Emma Bea Leaver,” “Roger Oubernoudt,” “Phyllis Stations,” “Saul R. Eaklips,” the somewhat smelly “Anita Schauers,” the two Irishmen “Manny O’Tier” and “Upton O’Gude,” the Clark Gable lookalike “Frank Lee Muhdeer,” and the somewhat old-fashioned “Horace N. Bucky.” And relatives, especially aunts like “Auntie McKasser,” “Auntie Dote,” “Auntie Pasto,” and least but not last, “Auntie Klymax.”

It kept getting worse and worse. I started thinking about all the names that ask questions, like “Izzie Yewman,” “Izzie Dunne,” and “Izzie Dedd” (the last of which then led to “Esther Leif-Atterdett”), that interogatory family of “Kennie Duit,” “DeeDee Duit,” and “Willie Duit” (and their answering brother , “I. Darren Duit”), “Willie Maykett,” the nymphomaniacal “Wanda Ball,” and the romantic “William Aramy.” And finally, that cold-blooded pair of worriers, “Ophelia Draft” and “Isadora Jarr.” These last two made me think of all the pairs of people, such as the two Italian gourmands, “Patsy Fazool” and “Ricky Tony;” the skinny pair, “Bill Eamia” and “Annie Rexia.” And these pairs led to more and more—the two mind readers, “Claire Voyant” and “Luigi Bored”; the French couple, “Billy” and “Patty Dew”; the flowery couple, “Phil O.” and “Rhoda Dendrun.” Then “Stan Dupp” and “Bea Kownted,” “Howard Yew” and “Emma Fein,” “Les Tawk” and “Morey Akshun,” the killers “Pat” and “Matt Reside” and their cousin “Sue Side.” I kept finding it harder and harder to sleep.

And then the final indignity: If a woman named “Billie Button” married a man named “Lent,” she’d become “Billie Button Lent.” AAAHHEEEEE E E E E E E E!!!!!

Post a Comment

Blog Archive

Any comments? Write me at