Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unfortunate Moniker

Years ago, back in the days of the original “Truth or Consequences” TV show, starring a much younger Bob Barker, I would sometimes find myself, before the blessing of remote controls, watching the show. On one particular occasion, as I watched, the consequences for not answering the nutty question Bob had posed to several contestants, was that the contestants were made to go out into the world, and for the following week, dig up as many people as they could with the most unusual of names, and convince them to return to the show, to receive a prize. For some reason, I actually saw the next show, ( I didn’t plan it, I swear to God) which produced the results of the contestant’s research. The contestants had gone forth, and had taken to cruising phonebooks, for weird names, and cold calling.

The contestants provided some real winners, which I have never forgotten. One woman, who was pleased to return to the show for her assortment of blenders and Samsonite luggage, had been named Rosemary, at birth, and with the last name of Hose, had endured a lifetime of ridicule and abuse as the holder of the truly unfortunate moniker “Rose Hose.”

There was an older man named “Safety Furst”, and another older man, whose parents were havin’ some kinda fun, at naming time, considering their last name of National, and surely splittin’ a gut when they wrote “First” on the birth certificate. I dunno, maybe they were hoping for a star wide receiver, or a movie star, whose unusual moniker may have been more of a help than a hindrance. All I know is, besides buying prunes in a lunch line, having the name First National could be one of the most embarrassing things ever.

In about 1973, my spouse at the time was working for Safeway, and one evening, after arriving to pick her up, I entered the store. The produce guy at that store, in Renton, Washington, was a gentleman named Larry Azolla. Apparently, someone had just called the store and asked for Larry, because, as I entered the store, one of the produce assistants, who had just taken a call in the main store office, was on the public address system, announcing his name. It was at this moment that I heard, loudly, and clear as a bell, with everyone else in the store, this young man's attempt at comedy, as he announced, "Larry Ass-hole-uh, telephone for Larry Ass-hole-uh please, line one for Larry Ass-hole-uh", several times. Kind of a stretch, making Azolla into Ass-hole-uh, but I admit, it was funny, and as I recall, he got away with it.

I am curious about unfortunate monikers. Any other stories out there? My mother knew a woman named Anna Versarie. What are parents with the last name of Moss thinking when they name their son Pete? Do you have anyone in your life with an unusual or unfortunate moniker? I’d like to know.

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