The Name Game

by Shevi Arnold

Illustration for column goes here.

My name is Shevi. It’s pronounced like the name of the car, and because of this I’ve heard all the car jokes one person can possibly stand in a lifetime. Some have asked if my parents couldn’t afford to name me Mercedes or Portia. One person pointed out that I’m not exactly “built like a rock.” Others have asked me if I have a brother named Ford or a sister named Lexis. My own cousin said I should have been born in 1957 instead of 1964, because “’57 Chevys are classics.” When one person asked me what model I was, I told him I was a Trailblazer. He thought I was more of a Rambler.


 I like my name, but sometimes I wish my parents had given me an easier one. Jean would have been a good one. A few years back a clothing company gave out free pairs of jeans to people named Jean, Gene or Jeanette. I wish Chevrolet would do that. A free car to everyone named Shevi might make up for all the jokes.

People used to make fun of my name all the time, but they hardly do it at all now. They’re afraid of being politically incorrect. A woman will go up to another woman pushing a stroller and say, “What an adorable little baby. What’s his name? Jihad? What does it mean? It’s Arabic for Holy War? How… charming.”

Children, however, don’t care about political correctness. They’ll make fun of you if you have an unusual name. Heck, they’ll make fun of you even if you don’t.

“What’s your name?” a kid will say.  “Bruce? Brucey goosey is on the loosey!"

“John? Why’d your parents name you after a toilet?"

“Sam? Didn’t Sean Penn play you in a movie?"

“George Bush Junior? Was your father was so dumb he couldn’t even think of a new name for you?”

Of course, it’s not just people who have funny names – it’s products, too. For example, how many drugs can you name with the letters X, Z and or Y in them? Zyrtec, Zicam, Xanax, Comtrex, Nexium, even Tylenol… It makes me suspect the people who name drugs are all frustrated Scrabble players.

“Here’s my word, Z-A-B-Y-M-E-X, Zabymex. That’s a seven-letter word with a Z, Y, and X plus a triple letter for a total of ninety-six points. Yes! You don’t think it’s a real word? It is. It’s an antidepressant. We invented it this morning.”

But drugs aren’t the only products with funny names. One that really gets to me is “seeded watermelon.” I understand the concept of seedless watermelons. Watermelons naturally have seeds in them, so they have to be specially bred to remove the seeds. Seedless watermelons make sense – except when you start to wonder how they’re planted when they don’t have any seeds – but the term “seeded watermelons” makes them sound like seedless watermelons that someone deliberately put seeds into.

 I wouldn’t want that job.

It reminds me of my daughter, who is so cute it’s hard for me to say "no" to her. Sometimes she’ll ask me to prepare something ridiculous for her to eat, like a smoked salmon and grape jelly sandwich. I always ask her, “Are you sure? Because if you don’t eat it, I’m not going to.”

She always looks up at me with her big, blue eyes and says, “Yes, I’m sure.”

She takes one bite – just one – and rolls her eyes. Then she sits there for a few minutes with this strange look on her face. Suddenly, she breaks into a smile and rubs her tummy.

“Mmm, yummy. Now I’m full,” and she runs off, leaving me to either eat it or throw it out.

If I had to seed watermelons I’d be going, “Are you sure you want seeds in this thing? Because if you change your mind, I’m telling you right now, I’m not going to eat it.”  

I also find the term “sports bra” funny. It makes me wonder why it’s called that. Is it because sports bras do push ups?

I suspect a sports bra is called a sports bra because a woman has to do a yoga exercise to get into one. A sports bra basically starts out the size and shape of a rubber band. You stick one hand through one side, twist it around, bend your elbow over backward and do the same thing with the other arm. Then you bend and twist and bend and twist and adjust and adjust until that rubber band is suddenly… a bra.

They don’t make sports panties, but I wish they did. I would really like to get the full body sports underwear work out.

Sports bra is a pretty funny name for it. Still it could be worse. They could be called Chevys. I mean, listening to car jokes is bad enough.