In this post, am I going to complain about how unfair it is that carrot juice tastes just palatable enough for me to be able to bear gulping it down and just repulsive enough for every gulp to be met with instant regret and disgust? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but no. This post is about the delicate art of name-giving.
So in order to avert the inevitable enquiries regarding my questionable taste in domain names, I thought I’d clear things up right off the bat. I don’t have any spiritual connection with gulls, and this blog is not to be taken as an attempt at establishing any such connection. They’re not even my favourite animal. Frankly — and I usually abstain from such shallowness — I simply liked the sound of it; or rather, its essence.
T H E F E E B L E S E A G U L L
I like the connotation of sensitivity and wanderlust this phrase carries. I like the way my tongue has to gradually retreat back into my mouth when I say it aloud. I like the fact that it doesn’t buy into the lyrical optimism of a perfect rhyme.
Neither market research nor existential introspection went into this name. If I had to find a halfway truthful explanation as to where the above collocation came from, I’d have to say it was a random stroke of insight, possibly intermingled with subliminal Freudian messages that were lost to my conscious mind. (The beak is a phallic symbol; I’m sure of it.) Of course, I also got pretty lucky that there wasn’t any underground folk singer-songwriter who’d taken on that pseudonym before I could.
It’s nothing short of amazing how little interference we’re allowed with the first impressions we make. Names are just the tip of the iceberg, really. You’re not in any way conventionally attractive? Well, you gotta work it somehow. Win ’em over with your brains if you got any. You don’t conform to the ethnic makeup your society defines as the default? Bummer — not much you can do about it, though. You’ll be a victim of racism your entire life. I mean, seriously, isn’t there any way you can withstand those societal pressures and finally take charge of your identity?
Although I can offer no solutions, I believe there’s a case to be made for getting to choose our own names. For instance, has it ever occurred to you that if you, say, went to study abroad for a year, you could introduce yourself literally any way you like and everyone you meet would gladly address you by that name, as long as it’s believable and even just remotely pronounceable? At some point, you might even be given a nickname based off of that made-up persona. That way you’d accumulate various circumstantial personalities that, when taken as a whole, may finally do your complex interior justice. How’s that for an opportunity to reclaim your identity?
Oh, and here’s one last piece of advice in case you do consider an experiment in self-naming: please make sure to highlight some of your positive aspects as well; only feebleness and gullibility probably won’t do.