What’s in a name?
Juliet’s question rings true to many of us today. Does the name of what something or someone is called really make a difference? In this modern world, everything is fluid and ill-defined. People “identify” a certain way and declare their identity instead of becoming something. It’s a wonder there are not more people legally changing their names to better suit their mood.
Considering this idea, and in the midst of working a Shakespearean event, my thoughts turned to the famous lines of the bard. Juliet wonders if Romeo could change his name so they could be together. Or, conversely, she’s willing to change her name to be with him. She ponders the theory that if Romeo were not called as such, would he not be as loveable? She proposes that his name is not any part of him. Would a rose still smell sweet if it were called something else?
I say that the word rose, because of the mean-ing we have attached to it, smells sweeter than a toe or a rock. If we started calling roses “toes,” very few of us would lean in to give it a sniff.
When I named my company, I spent several agonizing days (weeks?) figuring out a name that told what we did, a name that did not have my own name tied to it (for future salability) and that meant something to me. Our company name is derived from Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament. To everything there is a season. I was at a new season in my career and the verse spoke to me. I also liked the play on words to wedding season and Christmas season. Plus, the name longed for a green logo, and I like really like green. A name was born.
Recently, there’s been news of an upcoming business that will have a similar name to my company’s. After fielding lots of questions from staff and supporters, I’ve come to the conclusion that someone else may feel as strongly about the word “season” as I do. And that’s great! A word, a name, has to have a meaning. I spoke with the owner of this new business and we have already shared a laugh about our future referrals. After all, our town has survived many years with a couple of successful “harvest”-titled restaurants.
I think about the names of things I’ve learned. Instead of meeting with the florist and describing the “velvet brain,” I now confidently ask for celosia. In the kitchen, my business partner has educated me on the difference between haricot verts (although I still can’t pronounce it) and “regular” green beans. Having these specific names helps us communicate better. Just today, we were laughing about the difference between a metal pan and a foil pan – in our world, they are very different pans!
Names have meanings and help us communicate exactly what we mean. So proper names, like the names of businesses, places, and people, must help us communicate what we mean as well. Instead of just saying “the bakery,” let’s specify whether we mean Honeymoon Bakery or The Sweet Bar. Their names were carefully chosen, and they are different places in both product and people.
“I love the pest control industry and wouldn’t do anything different unless I was forced too,” says Streeter. “I love helping people, as well as knowing that every day I will be doing something different. My team and I believe that when we go out to homes or places of business that we are genuinely helping people by solving problems and providing a service they need. Needless to say, there’s a lot of job satisfaction as a result of that.”
It’s a tough job. In fact, there is much more to being successful in the pest control industry than one might realize. Streeter ensures that his team has all been thoroughly trained and tested to learn how to identify any solve any and all pest control problems a home or business owner might have. With just a simple inspection, a pest control technician at Active Pest Control can give a knowledgeable diagnosis as to what problems are affecting a house or place of business, and begin to prepare a way to not only solve the current issue, but prevent it from occurring again.
For some, a name could truly be the enemy. I’ve always wondered about places and business-es that are named for famous people – what happens when something scandalous happens? Would you want to attend O.J. Simpson High School? I’m not certain there is one, but if during the athlete’s heyday a school or football stadium was named in his honor, it’s probable the name has been changed.
On the other hand, there are the places where the name is now famous because of tragedy, but the name remains. Like a badge of honor or an alternate definition, sometimes a name is so wrapped up in an event that the name MUST remain. Columbine High School is still Columbine High School. I am glad they haven’t changed the name of the school, despite the tragic events of 19 years ago.
In my business, a name change is part of the process of marriage (most of the time). I have even developed a guide to navigating the name-change process for my clients, including links to the DMV and probate courts. Many of my brides retain their maiden name as their middle name. If Juliet were a southern girl and lived to marry sweet Romeo, she would be Juliet Capulet Montague. I think it’s beautiful that these women retain their original name as part of their evolving process of becoming a wife. For some, I know, the idea of changing your last name with marriage seems old fashioned. But I know that I couldn’t wait to become a Mrs. Lynch and add that new name to my own. The process of becoming a wife, and not just a single person, was signified by the addition of a name.
In some religions, a new name is given to a person as they complete certain parts of their religious training over time. Similarly, we gain titles as we grow in our professions. The names mean something as we learn. We do not suddenly declare ourselves to be a doctor or a lawyer and add that title to our name simply because we identify with that profession. Names have to have meaning.
After all, we don’t spend seventh grade reading a love story about Walter and What’s-her-name. The tragic answer to Juliet’s question is that Romeo can only be Romeo, the man she loves, because he is what he is called.
Holly Lynch is the owner of The Season Events, a full service catering, event planning and design company located at 300 Glenn Milner Blvd. in Rome.