Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fun with Funny Names

Recently there was a thread on LM_NET about funny names. This has always been something that cracked me up. The thread was rightly ended after so many messages, but it reminded me of the fact that I used to build upon the idea in my days as a junior high Language Arts teacher and then as a librarian. At one point I had very few materials, especially on the level needed for my students, and I learned then to use things like the phone book, catalogs, maps, etc. that I could get free. Forever after, I remembered the fun that could be had with these resources. One thing I would do was challenge kids to find names that were funny because of the occupations of the people. Using the Yellow Pages, they could look up doctors, for example, and find Dr. Payne, Dr. Pepper, Dr. Tickle (yep, in my home town though he was a veterinarian), etc. In the library I used to tell kids they could have a Jolly Rancher if they could make me laugh by doing this.

A variation on this is humorous author names. Back in the old days when we did inventory with shelf list cards, I can remember getting slap happy with my assistant over some author names. It would start out with names like Quackenbush and Pinkwater. Then we would start noticing that certain names were just perfect for the book subjects or titles. Was it fate that determined that the Van Wormers would write bird books? Doing inventory this way tends to make you slap happy after a while anyway, and by the 500's aisle we would be rolling in the aisle.

One other direction you could take with kids would be to think of funny names for book characters. Right now none come immediately to mind, but I know there are lots. Anyway, if you are interested continuing this thread or suggesting ways to have fun with students and names, here is a place you can add comments!


  1. These are student names that I have run across over the years and have never forgotten.

    Terry Berry (and his wife June)
    Sherry Berry
    Harry Butz
    Ricky Ticky
    Shanda Lier
    Penny Nickle

    These are names that others have sent me from a listserv. I guess they appeared in an Ann Landers column.

    Robbin Droppings
    Dan Druff
    Kit Ann Kaboodle
    Cheri Pitts
    Tab Collar
    Rock Pile
    Billy Klubb
    Polly Glott
    Doris Closed
    Rhoda Bike
    Gay Libb
    Pat Fanny
    Penny Hooker
    Isabelle Ringing

  2. People have trouble with my last name and come up with variations and would never get it right if we insisted on pronouncing it the way my husband's family did "yea zhick" so I answer to yah sick and yea sick. The funny thing is the number of people who can't spell it. When my husband was a traveling salesman I would often call him. 8 or 0 times out of ten I would be told that he wasn't registered even after I spelled the name. I got smart however and asked them to look under W which was where it was put most often. Even today more than half the people who write my name after I've spelled write Wasick-- can't figure out the reason unless it is that Y sounds like why!

    Oh and my maiden name was Kallas. Grade school boys delighted in adding an s to the end and putting the accent on the last syllable.

  3. At our high school, we have teachers named: Mr. Meth, Mrs. Tapper, Mr. Beers and Mrs. Buseman (pronounced Boozeman) No kidding!