A reader can top Harry Baals:
I know this is juvenile, but I can’t help it. Here in New Hampshire, Dick Swett was a congressman for a few terms in the early 1990s. His campaign posters never failed to elicit a smile. Best of all, he was subjected to the Daily Show treatment when he stood up and asked President Obama a question at a town hall in Nashua in 2010.
I used to be a political consultant, and in the office we would keep track of great political “Dick” names. In the early 1990s, the president of the Cook County Board (the county that contains Chicago) was Dick Phelan. The last name was pronounced exactly the way it would to have your doctor write you an ED prescription.
When I did political fundraising in Michigan there was a big time lobbyist named Dick Weiner. Yes, just like Anthony. That was a difficult call to make without laughing!
I was doing some personal research on Blower Bentleys yesterday and came across this video on the 1937 Grand Prix circuit:
I’m turning 52 tomorrow, maybe I’ll finally grow up.
I’ve always found the most unfortunate politician’s name to be Dick Mountjoy, a politician in the California State Assembly and Senate. It didn’t help that I first encountered him while on a middle-school field trip to Sacramento. I’d say his name was tailor-made for an adolescent’s sense of humor, but I can’t honestly say that I find his name any less hilarious now 15+ years on.
Another shifts genders:
Your reader who served with SFC Boner reminded me of a sailor off the USS Blue Ridge I met several times while I was deployed to Japan: a woman named Seaman Boob.
Imagine hearing that name get passed over the 1MC several times a day. Getting promoted didn’t help her much either; I believe she was an an interior communications electrician, so she became IC3 Boob, then IC2 Boob, and if she stayed in long enough, IC1 Boob …
Clearly the American military enjoys a significant advantage in terms of amusing names: the relative ethic diversity and the omnipresence of the nametape on the uniform make it impossible to ignore. In my brief military career alone, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Sergeant First Class Crazybear, Sergeant Sargent, and Major Horney.
Nothing, however, will outstrip a fond memory at the end of a deployment to Iraq at Ali Al Salem Airbase, Kuwait. I was redeploying separately from my unit, and there were about 50 random sleep-deprived souls scattered about the waiting area, ready to head back home. In such situations, a relatively senior individual is designated to ride herd on the other passengers and ensure everyone is present through the time-tested Army roll call. We all stood in yet another formation as a major read our names off in a loud, commanding voice:
The major paused. A note of uncertainty crept into his voice.
“Glass … coke?”
And from the back, loud and triumphant:
“It’s pronounced Glasscock, sir!”
Another looks to the sports world:
Let us not forget Randy Bush, who played outfield for the Twins in the 1980s.
This person isn’t a public official or a news reporter, but I still think the classic funny name of all time is a retired ob-gyn in Virginia named Harry Beaver. Yes, he goes by Harry, not Harold.
Whenever I hear about people with funny/unfortunate names, I always think back to one of my college professors at UC Santa Cruz. Harry Beevers was one of the preeminent plant biologists of the 20th century. He was instrumental in discovering the glyoxylate cycle and the glyoxysome in plant cells. He was from the Northeast of England and spoke with a pronounced Durham / Geordie accent. He was a little intimidating in his classroom lectures but brilliant.
Another might just be pulling our leg:
In Junior High School (Greenfield Jr High, in El Cajon, CA) close to 30 years ago, my gym coaches were Harold Balls and John Hiscock. No joke. Of course the common refrain (amongst both students and staff) was, ” Where’s Hiscock and Balls?”, followed by much snickering.
I heard that after I left, Hiscock retired and was replaced by a coach named Longerbone. The whole thing was so preposterous that a local radio station once called the school on air to confirm that this wasn’t some kind of joke.
When I was in college I worked at a call center doing tech support for AT&T Wireless. One time I fielded a call from someone named Harry Johnson. My supervisor heard me laughing (while my microphone was muted, of course) and wandered over to check it out. When he saw the name Harry Johnson on my computer screen he started laughing too. Then, in one of the coolest but least responsible things a boss has ever done, he told the rest of our 15-person team to put their customers on hold and check out my screen.
My first GYN was named Dr. Stiff. Nice man, went to our church, had a good (and I should add, properly scientific) talk – along with his female partner in his practice – with all us high school girls about the sorts of things you need to see a GYN about, and made us feel very comfortable, and then I started going to him. I say this because I would not have chosen a GYN named Dr. Stiff out of the phone book – which might have been why he was trying to drum up business at church!
More readers are snickering over at our Facebook page. Update from a reader:
Now that you’ve expanded the review into the sport world, you have to acknowledge the legendary NASCAR racer, who died earlier this year: Dick Trickle. I once asked someone who worked in the sport, why he didn’t go by Richard or Rick? He said that Trickle started racing in Wisconsin on dirt tracks, where one of the other competitors was Richard Head, who did not go by Richard. I assume Trickle figured, by comparison …
And then there was the former head football coach at Glassboro State College in New Jersey in the ’80s: Richard Wackar. He did not go by Richard.
I assume you now realize this thread may never end?
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