LOTS IN A NAME
Commentary by Dr. Don Newbury
Brits have long been viewed as folks who seem bent on probing details of “whys” on many topics, some of them unlikely. Maybe it’s because they’ve been around a long time.
Like the Farmers Insurance commercial, they “know a thing or two because they’ve seen a thing or two.”
Many of them reach “lathered status” when another name is added to the list of potential royalty “throne-holders,” even though the probability of reaching “number one” is about as likely as securing season tickets to a Boston Red Sox baseball game without someone first dying.
Nervous titters loudened–and no doubt many pints raised–by our across-the-pond friends–prior to the birth of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor to Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Early on, there was “clatter and chatter” about what the sex of the baby would be. Gambling odds were posted, mostly concerning the new baby’s name.
It wouldn’t have surprised me if smoke–wafting in colors of blue or pink from the castle–had silently announced the baby’s sex.
When I heard the new baby’s full name, I thought the smallest type available will be required if he ever needs a business card. If such card were actually to be read, magnification would be required. (Okay, life might be simpler to consider shortening his name.)
When my 106-year-old Uncle Mort heard of the commotion in Britain prior to Archie’s birth, he misunderstood the news report.
Instead of “Sussex,” he thought the newsman said “Suffix.”
“That was okay by me,” he said. “After all, the baby was overdue, right?”
When Mort tears into a topic, it’s like a Rottweiler snaring a T-bone off a meat wagon. His conclusions often confound.
If the baby had been early, he wondered if ‘Prefix’ would have been used. I didn’t attempt to answer. To have done so would have meant his traversing rabbit trails even further.
News commentators have revealed that “Archie”–while seemingly a commoner’s moniker–actually is shortened from “Archibald.”
They say that “Archie” means genuine, and that “bald” stands for “bold” or “brave.”
Uncle Mort will speculate for a long time about the “Archie” part, and he may even take in after the “bald” syllable.
He will center on the “whys” and “what ifs.”
Mort will scour the Internet, perhaps learning that “Prince Archie of Riverdale” already has been invited to join Archie Comics’ Facebook bunch.
You remember comic figure Archie, right? Pep Comics introduced him in December 1941, the same month that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. (Comic books’ popularity soared in the 1940s, offering diversion from horrifying World War II news.).
Back then, we turned pages instead of pushing game buttons on phones and iPads, and often engaged in trading the comic books.
Anyways, Archie Andrews had friends named “Jughead” Jones, and then there were friends named Betty and Veronica, and the Riverdale school principal, Mr. Weatherbee.
Mort might also be thankful that England’s famous new infant wasn’t somehow named “Jughead.”
Archie Bunker could also have been the springboard for the infant’s name selection.
Bunker was the unquestioned star of “All in the Family,” a Friday night “must see” sitcom that ruled TV viewing during most of the ’70s. He sparred each week with son-in-law “Meathead” and wife Edith, whom he was always warning to “dummy up.”
The show was awash, of course, in “political incorrectness.”
At least Harry and Meghan likely gave much thought to naming their son.
The story goes that a long-ago mountaineer couple, upon arrival of their 15th child, thought it odd that they couldn’t think of an appealing name. “That’s it,” the father said. “We’ll name him ‘Odd’.”
The child hated his name, decreeing finally that upon his demise, he wanted a blank tombstone at his grave. Sure enough, the stone lacked engraving. Cemetery visitors, seeing the blank tombstone, commented, “That’s odd.”
Dr. Newbury is a former educator who “commits speeches” round about. Comments or inquiries to:firstname.lastname@example.org. Ph.: 817-447-3872. Web: www.speakerdoc.com. Twitter: @donnewbury. Facebook: don newbury.