A (for Aaron Aardvark)
These days, most kids born to people I know seem to have names starting with A. One of them is my sister’s kid, and being the doting uncle that I’d like to picture myself as, I wouldn’t want to change anything about him (unless of course it turns out that he prefers Vivek over Vadivelu).
However, I wonder about the plethora of names beginning with A in the sub-4 ft. brigade today. What’s the logic? It can’t be that it helps the kid go earlier when names are sorted in alphabetical order, for a number of reasons:
- If everyone’s got a name starting with A, it’s the second letter in your name that begins to matter. As it stands, if you name your kid “Baa” after the nursery rhyme, he’s still gonna be the last on the list.
- If they’re sorted in alphabetical order of last name, what are you going to do? Change your family name to Aardvark?
- If it’s important, then why not use numbers? Lower ASCII value, right?
Just for the heck of it, I’d like to come across a kid named ZZ Top. I’ll even buy him a fake beard for his birthday.
E (for what, exactleee?)
I can kinda-sorta understand when someone takes the word Shop, decides that it needs to get a little fancier, and uses the word Shoppe instead. The free dictionary tells me that it’s a variant of the word ‘shop’, and since I will believe almost anything I see on the Internet, I can live with that.
But Shoppee? Drive around Chennai and you’ll find scores of them. There’s a Singapore Shoppee on the way to Mahabalipuram, for instance. I’ve spent countless minutes wondering why. The possibilities I came up with were:
- Numerology: Just about any bad spelling decision can be blamed on this practice these days.
- Strategy: The shopkeeper took evening MBA classes but was so tired after a long day at the store that he fell asleep during strategy class. All he remembered at the end of it was the word differentiation.
- The French Connection: The guys setting up these stores are all from Pondy, where they spell Kangeyan as Kangueane and have streets like Rue de Manakkula Vinayagar. They figure, if we aren’t gonna pronounce the first ‘e’, we have no business complaining about the second.
- The Art of Living: If you can prefix an extra Sri, you can suffix an extra ‘e’ as well.
W (for Women)
I’ve noticed this in a number of garment stores and it’s never really made sense to me. Why do they put nipples on female mannequins?
Check out any store where they have a dress in the display window. Is this some sort of quest for anatomical perfection? And how come it happens only with female mannequins? You don’t see male mannequins with strategically filled out trousers anywhere, do you?