A reader has that surname beat:
This is not an exact parallel to the Weiner case by any, uh, measure, but in the pre-Internet 1980s, Nashville once elected a mayoral candidate who, once he was in office, left his wife (she was his third) and before his divorce was final, became engaged to a cabaret singer named Traci Peel. For a few months, Nashvillians had a mayor who was married and engaged at the same time.
Ms. Peel promptly gave an interview to a local newspaper in which she confided that she and the mayor had just enjoyed “seven hours of passion.” Shortly afterward, the duo appeared on a national broadcast of the “Donohue” show, during which the mayor played harmonica as his fiancée belted out a version of the country staple “Rocky Top,” And then, in an interview, he blamed all of his troubles on the media sensationalizing his private life.
This amazing politician’s name? Boner. Bill Boner.
The man had more balls than the current Speaker of the House.
A reader can top Bill Boner:
One can’t discuss unfortunate politician names without mentioning Ft. Wayne’s former mayor Harry Baals – and the shameful cowardice of not naming a building after him.
Seen above. See if you can avoid snickering. Another reader:
When I was in the infantry I had a platoon sergeant named Boner. Sergeant First Class Boner.
Army life involves plenty of roll calls, standing idly in formation waiting for your name to be called so you can sound off with “present” or “here” or “hooah” or something along those lines. And so people conducting a roll call would regularly try to throw our sergeant a bone, hesitating briefly before pronouncing his name as “Bonner” or “Boehner” or even “Boneer.” But this guy owned it, every single time, cheerily correcting them with “It’s pronounced Boner.” Sometimes he would mischievously add “Boner, as in” and then trail off.
Truly an NCO you could follow into hell.
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?
Subscribers need to get their [tinypass_offer text=”$2/month”]’s worth.
Dish readers continue to pool their vast collective knowledge:
Don’t believe me? There’s several of them from Zimbabwe and Mozambique on Facebook, along with Lovemore Dickson. Look ’em up. And none of them is the one I know. Seems to be a popular name.
I live half an hour from this Air Force base, named after Eastern NC’s own WW2 hero: Seymour Johnson.
In the ’80s at SUNY Binghamton, a very nice guy named Gil Dickoff ran for office in the Student Association. He ran against someone named Smith. Gill lost the election. And what was the headline in Pipedream, the student newspaper? “Smith Beats Dickoff Handily”
There was a family furniture store here in Pasadena named J.H Bigger. You guessed it: The manager’s name was Dick. Dick Bigger.
In the fine tradition of funny Dick names, I give you: Dick Champion.
Many more contenders after the jump:
I just had to write in. I’ve had two people in my life who could illicit a laugh whenever I heard their name:
1. Dick Beiter. He was my flag football coach when I was 8-9 years old. I swear to god that was his true name. (He had three sons and one daughter. The oldest son had Down’s syndrome and served as the “lineman” when we played; he would go along the sidelines and mark the first down line after each play.)
2. Dick Burns. He was my high school history teacher. Of course, the yearbook says “Richard” but he went by “Dick” among colleagues. Hilarious. Try not to laugh in class!
Here’s a photo of a now-extinct New Orleans auto dealership: Dick Bohn Ford. (And yes, you pronounce it “bone”.)
Perhaps you recognize this reputable car dealership from your time on Cape Cod:
Back in the early 1980s there was a company in Salt Lake City called Richard Long Erection Company, always referred to as Dick Long Erection Co.
(Though Google has no record of it.) Another reader:
As I see that Northwest Ohio is not yet representin’, let me add these two gems to the thread: Former Ohio state representative from Huron County, Richard “Dick” Rench, and retired Toledo judge Peter Handwork.
I’m actually a little surprised you haven’t gotten this one already, but when I did my freshman orientation at UCLA, the counselors told us a number of ridiculous lies leading up the most ridiculous one of all – except that one happened to be true: The University Research Library has a plaque dedicated to the former campus librarian, Hugh G. Dick.
Another gets off the Dicks:
As long as everyone is contributing their favorite unfortunate names, here’s mine: Gay Hitler, a dentist from Circleville, Ohio (born in 1882).
When my brother attended Minot (ND) State Teacher’s College in the 1960s, there was a girl’s dorm named after a former Dean of Women, Helen Hoar. Can you imagine sending your 18-year-old daughter to live in Hoar Hall?
The mascot of Minot State is the Beavers, and back then photos of selected girls on campus were sent to celebrities every year (think Jackie Gleason, Johnny Carson, etc) so they could choose “Miss Beaver.”
And at the University of North Dakota, the chair of the Speech Department in the ’70s was Hazel Heiman. Campus lore had it that her son’s name was Buster.
My ex’s sister was known as Kitten … and the family name was Raper. The poor girl.
Can anything top Professor I. Metin Kunt, who was visiting at Yale when I was an undergrad there? When we saw his name listed in the Blue Book course guide, we were sure it was a joke. But no: here’s a current link to an online sales page for one of his books, with his name on the cover. Was “Ibrahim” so toxic that he had to shorten it to “I”?
Last but certainly not least:
I’m sure I’m not the only baseball fan reading this thread who thought of the Detroit Tiger pitcher Doug Fister, who was obtained two years ago from Seattle in exchange for another pitcher named Charlie Furbush. It is now referred to, whenever possible, as the Fister-Furbush trade.
What better way to wrap up a week of Weiner than one final round of prurient-sounding names submitted by readers:
Did you notice – how could you not? – that the New York Post item about the Clintons and Weiner that had you so livid this week is written by one Frederic U. Dicker? No, I am not making this up. I don’t think anyone could.
Did you just write “pounding Weiner” in a blog post? If that was unintentional, I think all those giggle-inducing names are subconsciously getting to you.
I’m English by origin. As a people, we will never stop giggling at funny names and Asian accents.
I’m surprised that none of your baseball fan correspondents have pointed out my favorite horribly unfortunate name, the late Johnny Dickshot. That’s bad enough, but his nickname was “Ugly,” making him Ugly Dickshot.
I give you Austin, TX urologist and vasectomy specialist Dr. Dick Chopp. He wears it loud and proud too; he regularly goes on local radio stations and revels in the double entendres the morning jocks come up with. And in my opinion, he’s actually done a good amount of de-stigmatizing the conditions that lead to visiting a urologist, making it no big for dudes to get their junk checked out.
Some readers are not amused:
Enough with the lists of “funny” names with sexual implications. Look, names are generally given to us by our parents, and surnames are inherited from ancestors in most cultures. Making fun of someone because of the name someone else gave them is sophomoric and gets pretty stale, pretty fast. As someone with an unusual last name in which teenagers and adolescents can find a sexual reference if they try hard enough, I can assure you that all those “Dicks” and “Weiners” out there have heard the same jokes over and over. How about moving along?
You think I have my own blog so I can “move along” when talking about funny names? You jest. For those who want to move along: don’t click the read-on. For those who don’t – wait! – there’s more:
As a high school teacher, I find myself in meetings with parents, counselors, and students pretty frequently. I have a hard time keeping a straight face every time someone brings up a kid’s scores on the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Cognitive Abilities. According to Wikipedia: “The Woodcock–Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities is a set of intelligence tests first developed in 1977 by Richard Woodcock and Mary E. Bonner Johnson.” That’s right, Dick Woodcock.
I’m a 38-year-old woman, and it appears my first email to you is in relation to a silly, sexual name thread. I will own that just to share that my husband has worked with a Hollywood producer named Dick Suckle.
Ah, that felt good to share.
When I moved to the Rochester, NY area around 15 years ago, one of the first local ads I noticed was for a local car dealership. Apparently the locals were so used to it that they didn’t find it funny, but I still laugh every time I see an ad for Dick Ide.
Oh gosh, I guess I have to contribute. I grew up in St. Louis. A prominent local family were the owners of the old Falstaff brewing company. Their name was “Griesedick” – pronounced pretty much as you would guess. I see from Wikipedia that the family has now re-entered the beer business.
OK, since you’ve had about 30-odd posts on this, I thought it would be a great time to add some diversity into the topic. My former dentist’s name is Anita Fok.
More than a decade ago, I had a customer at the brokerage firm where I worked whose name was Irim Butt.
Since we’re all being a little puerile, I recently saw this Nixon campaign badge in a memorabilia store in LA:
All I can say is that it appeared to be genuine.
Maybe it is too late for this, but in my teens back in the ’60s I had a friend named Richard Zucker. He did not go by Dick.
In junior high school in Michigan I played basketball with one Harry Glanz.
I always thought “Magic Johnson” was the best name ever.
One final reader:
My name can be interpreted as meaning “hairy male genitalia.” The best part is that this is a family name. No pressure there. I’ve been following the thread (Dishhead since 2008) and feel that, as an unfortunately named person, I should weigh in.
I used to be really bothered by it. Middle school in particular was just awful. But as I’ve gotten older it’s become less and less of a big deal. Obviously I’m not going to ever send dick pics to someone or get caught up in a public sex scandal, so I don’t have to worry about that. In my adult life, though, I have noticed two things about my name.
The first is that people usually don’t forget me. My name is memorable and chuckle-inducing, so it sets me apart from other folks. That’s helped me in building networks and relationships over the years. The second thing I’ve noticed is that someone’s reaction to my name usually says more about them than it does about me. I’m the first to admit that my name is funny, and most people will either not make mention of it or mention once or twice before moving on. There is a small subset of people, however, that can’t get over my name, and this inability to act like an adult usually tips me off (correctly) that they suffer from a massive lack of perspective.
So my takeaway in this is that an “unfortunate name” is only a real negative as long as one’s actions don’t mimic their name. In other words, don’t be a dick.