The Name Game. It’s our favorite sport. It’s a game, a fun game, a happy game.

We love naming things.

The Toto Eco? It’s a toilet. Did you know that?

The moment a couple buys a new dog or cat or learns that a baby is on the way, the madness begins.

It starts at the breakfast table, runs into Starbucks and the market.

“Whaddya gonnna name it?” is the most asked question in America, next to, “Ya want fries with that?”

Couples lay awake in bed passing names. Hundreds, thousands of them bounce back and forth to each other like tennis balls.

“John?”

“No, they’ll call him Jack.”

“Camille?”

“Too French.”

“Elvis?”

Now we’re talking, Mamma.

Google tells us that the estimated population of people named Elvis is 13,411 and Elvis is used as a boy’s name 99% of the time.

My sister Dawn was named after a character in a movie. The greatest number of people were given this name in 1970, when 15,674 people in the U.S. were given the name Dawn. Those people are now 51 years old and on their second shot of Moderna.

Pets: Dogs on the American prairie and in the hollows of the South were standard. There were “Fido,” “Spot,” “Rover” and “Dog.”

MGM once noted that after the 1947 “Lassie Come Home” every collie in America was named “Lassie.” If you went outside now and shouted “Lassie!” 80 collies would be at your door.

My friend DJ named her English Springer Spaniel “Zelda,” not after F. Scott Fitzgerald’s poor, crazy, alcoholic wife, but after a video game.

We named our first Old English sheep dog “Gatsby,” to be followed by “Jack.”

After Gatsby, we bought another sheep dog, and the game began. It took two weeks to name him, but when he picked up one of my tennis shoes and chewed it up, it was easy. “Polo.”

Now, with masks dropping and fears of dying in the afternoon easing up, what do you think is happening? A quiz.

Moderna.

Moderna is:

A. A Spanish dancer

B. An Italian actress

C. A Mexican bull fighter

D. Antonio Banderas’ real name

None of the above. It’s a vaccine. You win.

By Labor Day, millions of cats, birds, electric cars and toilets across America will be named “Pfizer.”

Baby girls, lipsticks and energy drinks will be christened “Moderna.”

And twin boys will be named Johnson and Johnson.

Wait a minute. Someone’s outside. Well, it’s my lawyer Jason Jabar and his lovely bride, Heather, training their new French bulldog.

“Sit, Fauci, sit!”

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.


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