I was driving up the interstate on my morning commute, when looking in my rear-view mirror I noticed an odd-looking vehicle approaching from behind. As the car began passing me I observed the name, conspicuously placed on the trunk of the automobile. I thought at the time it was an apt moniker, since it described the vehicle…
By the way, why do we affix names to automobiles? Is there an expectation that we will talk to our cars? I understand that when a vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, addressing the car at that moment is not unusual. But actually greeting our cars by name seems a little odd. “Good morning Mr. Pilot. What’s the flight plan for today?” Or upon entering our car after a long day at work should we say, “I’ve been thinking about you all day Tahoe. I couldn’t wait to slide into your comfortable bucket seats and feel my hands caressing your soft leather steering wheel?” I can understand giving names to our pets; at least we get some sort of reaction from them, a wagging tail or a soft purr, but the car doesn’t respond in any way. It just sits there, headlights staring blankly ahead, not a peep.
And why do the manufacturers get to name the vehicles? It seems a little impersonal, knowing that there are thousands of other Impalas out there on the road. Wouldn’t it be better to pre-name your car prior to showing up at the dealer? For those that couldn’t come to an agreement with their significant other, spouse, main squeeze, domestic partner, on the appropriate name, the dealer could have a book full of names to choose from. Like a book of baby names. And what kind of names would they be? Names like Ashley and Justin just wouldn’t sound right on a car. How about names like they give race horses? “Man O’ War” sounds like a pretty cool name for a car. And in that vein, if you purchased a four-cylinder hybrid car, you might name it, as a badge of pride in saving your planet, “I Could Have Had a V-8”, but I chose this squirrelly looking little roller skate instead.
For those who stick with the same vehicle year after year, for each new one they could name it “Malibu Jr.” or “Malibu III” and so on. If your car is one of the luxury models, an appropriate name might be “Pretentious One”. For the lead footed driver, “Zero to Sixty” would be good, or one might consider naming it after their favorite NASCAR driver; “Dale Earnhardt III”, since the other two are taken. For me, the perfect and most descriptive car name would be “Dangerous Behind the Wheel”.
If we name our cars, why not other inanimate objects? After all, we have far more affinity and investment in our homes, so why not name them? “In Debt up to my Wazoo” might be appropriate in many instances. Since you never know what goes on behind closed doors, the house name emblazoned on the front door might give a hint. “World War III” would be a great description for some homes. For the home of a lawyer it could be, “Shark sighted. No Swimming Allowed”. If the homeowner is an NRA member, you might name the house, “Knock at your own Risk”. Driving by many homes in the hills where I’m from, and seeing most of the owner’s possessions strung around the front yard, I have to admit that “Sanford and Son” is the most appropriate name I could come up with. My home name? “Here Today and Gone Tomorrow”.
Now, back to that odd-looking vehicle. As it drove past I noticed the name and thought it an apt moniker; CUBE. It had a strong resemblance to an ice-cube, or even better, a sugar cube on wheels. As it drove ahead of me I couldn’t help thinking of the Barnum and Bailey, Ringling Brother’s Circus. On the infield in the center ring next to the elephants is a little car; driving around in circles. Inside the car, and once stopped piling out of the car, is an almost endless supply of clowns. How did they all fit in that car?