April 28, 2021–If you inherited a ranch, what would you name it?
This question was recently posed, along with the suggestion it might make an interesting column. It struck close to home, because coming up with names for things is something I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about.
I tend to name entities in machine gun fashion, like when naming my business. I needed something to call it for some DBA form, so I came up with Full House, because 1) it sounded kinda like Phil Houseal, and 2) I moved it to my garage when I started it because our house was too full to continue working at the kitchen table. This turned out to be both bad and good. Bad because I didn’t know there was a TV sitcom with the same name. And good since I ended up providing publicity for events and the name Full House was appropriate.
Same with our “farm.” When doing my taxes, the eternal revenuers required a name to put on the Schedule F. I came up with Achin’ Acres because it seemed funny at 11:30 p.m. on April 14. That was nearly 30 years ago, and proved to be a good fit. So far, I know of no television series with that name. But there should be.
When brother John bought his acreage, he asked the same question. At the time I was playing with ridiculous Eastern Bloc names for unimpressive pieces of property, a la Trashcanistan or Kerrdistan. For my brother, I proposed the “Johnderosa.” I even made a sign.
For awhile I ran a community education program. Calling it “community education” sounded too much like the waiting room at the driver’s license bureau. So I cast about for something more inspirational. I wondered how it must feel for an adult who was struggling with reading or math to announce to his friends he had leave work early to go to Adult Basic Education classes. It must have been like being pulled out of basketball practice to go decorate for prom.
On the other hand, announcing you were on your way to Club Ed raised the curiosity if not the envy of peers. That sounded like an exclusive membership in an exotic organization. It worked so well we eventually used it as a name for the entire program.
I’m working with a guy who has started a roll-off dumpster business. He came up with a great name: Come and Dump It. Historic. Memorable. Funny. I liked it so much I made T-shirts. It’s rare when a business name is so good you want to put it on a T-shirt.
I’ve ranted before about how lame it is to name anything using your initials. I’m sorry, it just is. Calling your business ABC Enterprises just tells me you gave up before you even started.
Try harder. Make it T-shirt-worthy.