Farm Fresh!
Food and Farm Humor
Aptly Named
by Michael Hofferber  Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved.

I once went to a dentist with the surname Peck. And I recall seeing a nurse named Oaui (pronounced oweee!).

Then there was the undertaker, B. Stiff, and the cardiologist, Dr. Heart, and the exterminator, Ed Bugg.

These names are call aptonyms ("aptly named") by people who get a kick out of such things, like English teachers and writers of dictionaries and bored postal clerks. 
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You ask someone their name and then ask what they do for a living, and if you instantly explode in paroxysms of laughter, you've found one!

Dan Druff the barber is an aptonym. So is the name of the dance teacher, Felicity Foote, the flutist Terry Toot, or the Marine, Ken Kill. How about the electrician, Mike Sparks? Or the heating contractor, Bob Freeze? Or the sawmill operator, Joe Plank?

Psychologists puzzle over things like this: does a person's name affect the profession they fall into and what they become? The idea is called "nominative determinism" -- determining a person's future by naming them.

Researchers plied through the records of hundreds of libraries to test this theory on the medical professions and what did they find? Among the dentists they found a preponderance of names like: Dr. Pullen; Dr. Fillmore, Dr. Mangle, Dr. Ken Hurt, Dr. Nervo, Dr. Ohno, Dr. Sweet, Dr. Crownover and Dr. Yankum.

These are the names of real dentists currently practicing dentistry in America today. Nobody's making this up. There's really a Dr. Fang, a Dr. Holler, a Dr. Borer, a Dr. Smiley, a Dr. Nasti and at least 15 named Dr. Payne, including the infamous Dr. Daryl B. Payne.

It's not just dentistry, either. Among the family practitioners and internists there are names like Dr. Kwak, Dr. Killer, Dr. Blood, Dr. Patient, Dr. Slaughter, Dr. B. Sick, Dr. Stasick (pronouced stay sick); Dr. A. Sickman, and Dr. Howard Hertz.
If you care to brave it, there's also this list of urologists and proctologists (if not, please skip to the next paragraph): Dr. Weiner, Dr P. Philip (P.P.), Mr. Waterfall (a British urological surgeon); Dr. Blank (a specialist in infertility), Dr. Peter Poor, Dr. Manzone, Dr. Streem, Dr. Waterhouse, Dr. Newman, Dr. Peters, Dr. Butts, Dr. Dick Chopp, Dr. Dick Tapper, Dr. Dick Finder, Dr. Gehrkin, Dr.Wong, and Dr. Whang.
Did these men and women chose the medical profession -- and their specialties -- because of how they were named? Is there a subconscious force that makes people gravitate toward jobs that fit their names? Those with names like Flood, Breeze, Fogge, Storm, Frost and Weatherall seek careers in meteorology. Agriculture attracts the Plowmans, the Plants, the Farmers and, yes, even the Weeds.
Maybe its a consequence of hearing a name spoken at you over and over for 20 years that makes Chris (C.) Roach go into pest control and an Chris (C.) Bird become an ornithologist. If true, this has consequences for all of us -- both those who are naming children and those who have been named. There's awesome power in a name; you have to be careful.

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