I Stink at Naming Cars

Underdog balloon at 1979 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Author=Jon Harder, Permission=Own work, multi-licensed with GFDL and Creative Commons

I am certain my loyal readers have noticed that I’ve left many unresolved questions in my postings lately, and I have started to feel your unstated desire for resolution nagging me from across the void. The first unresolved matter, from late in October, has to do with the conundrum of naming the new car. I asked for suggestions, and never announced a winner.

The truth of it is that I received many fantastic suggestions, and I didn’t choose any of them. None of them have quite hit the mark for me, even though I liked all of them for one reason or the other. I didn’t get any feminine names, which is strangely convenient, as I’m very certain that the car is male, since it is a manual transmission. (It has a stick.)

There were suggestions with deep “Whedonesque” roots, which speak to my love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer and for Firefly. Specifically, the names suggested were Serenity and Xander. Not having fought in the Battle of Serenity Valley, I have no personal connection to the irony nor the tragic implications of that momentous occasion, and I am concerned that bestowing that name upon my car will force it to be constantly on the verge of falling apart if I don’t have a top-notch mechanic.

Xander is a good choice,  as he’s the “Zeppo” of the Scooby Gang, the one that is always there but gets little notice. He’s the metaphorical heart of the gang, and he’s the ordinary guy who simply wants to help his friends.

Following the idea of the shelter dog everyone ignored, I got several suggestions, including another vote for Spot, for some excellent classical allusions. I also got Rover, which I liked for the literal meaning of “rove” as applied to a car, and also a suggestion of Wally, in this case, for Wally Cox, the voice of the “Underdog” cartoon.

The name Wally also found support in the form of “Wall-E” the little robot left all alone to clean up our planet.  This angle has some resonance for me on the synchronicity side of things, which is a much longer story, and probably not as interesting to you all as it is to me. I don’t want to create another unanswered question while attempting to answer one, so, pretend I didn’t mention the uninteresting story.

From the Harry Potter side of things, I got three suggestions:  Snape, Sirius and Harry.  While Snape is perhaps the most interesting character of the series, I couldn’t pick him, because even his tragic back story didn’t excuse his behavior as a bully to all the students. Sirius, of course, is the dog star, and turns into a black dog, which I appreciate for the allusions, but, in the end, not quite a fit. Strangely, I agree with the Dursleys on the name of Harry, dreadfully common.Given that the name “Harry” is now inextricably linked to “Potter,” it has become far too obvious for my tastes.

The last names pointed to the classic orphans: Oliver,  Pip,  Huckleberry Finn, and the Artful Dodger.  I admit that I never liked Pip or Oliver, and of the Dickensian orphans, Dodger is the one that I find the most appealing. Dodger has the advantage, like Rover, of being literal as well as referential, which appeals to my brain’s love of wordplay, and yet, I expect Fagan would want a piece of that naming action, and I was trying to avoid monthly payments.

All of this to say, the car remains nameless. Clearly, my skills do not extend to naming an automobile.