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Sandy's Say: Aptonyms

Do you know what an aptonym is? Can you tell us your pimp or hooker name?

In this serendipitously-worded column Topsy Prospect (otherwise known as Sandy James) explains all.

Do you know what your pimp or hooker name is? No? Well then, you should get out more often and go down to the local pub. This name game is frequently played after one too many drinks. In order to work out your pimp or hooker name you take the name of your first pet and combine it with that of the name of the first road you ever lived in. You can tell from this that I'm right in with the intellectual, sophisticated crowd.

Last Friday, we had a girls' night out and came up with a few interesting ones:

Sparky Dyson (sounds like a dodgy vacuum cleaner)

Rusty Vauxhall (that'd be right)

Trixie Venture (Bernie Madoff again?)

Squeaky Eyles (an immaculate supermarket)

Thumper Bangaroo (a messy car accident in the Outback)

Tiger Wise (which of course he wasn't)

The names which caused the most laughter were Lady Dewar and Missy Slade, both of which sound like lesbian boasts.

We established that my hooker name is Topsy Prospect. There were those present who suggested that my name would have been more apt had my dog been called Tipsy. I can't imagine why.

Actually, there are people whose names and occupations have a close correspondence. Offhand I can think of Usain Bolt (a Jamaican, Olympic sprinter), Tiger Woods (the world's best golfer) and Layne Beachley (Australian, world champion surfer). Layne's name is all the more remarkably appropriate due to the fact that she is adopted.

Someone who is in the news a great deal lately is the newly elected president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. We can only hope that his name is indeed an aptonym as, in a country renowned for its military coups, he is going to need all the help he can get. Good luck Goodluck.

There are two statesmen whose parents can't possibly have known what confusion they would be causing in the future when they named their sons. There is the obvious Obama / Osama parallel but has anyone else noticed how uncannily similar the name Kai Eide sounds to Al Qaeda? Who is Kai Eide? He is the Norwegian-born, UN Special Representative to, of all places, Afghanistan.

The sports world is littered with parents whose aspirations for their children obviously went awry. To name just a few, the English cricketer, Peter Bowler was predominantly a batsman, the mother of Pakistani fast bowler, Waqar Younis, seems to have wrongly predicted that her son would be a batsman and in Australian rugby league we have Darren Senter who played hooker and Craig Wing who plays anywhere but, having been a halfback, hooker and five eighth in his time.

Then we come to Prudence Cumming, my Religious Education teacher at school. Spinster Cumming was - how shall I phrase this - not every man's dream. In fact, she was too highly principled and rigid in her ways to have been any man's dream. She was as wide as she was short and her helmet of hair was as strictly disciplined as her lifestyle. She wore crimplene trouser suits, cardigans and awfully sensible shoes. She once wrote in anonymously to the agony aunt in the school magazine, asking whether or not she should attend an archaeological dig in Israel. The editor, correctly guessing her identity, replied, "Heavens no! You might have to wear shorts." You get the picture, I presume.

She was inflexibly religious to the point of being unapproachable and not at all spiritual. She did not appreciate our refreshing, youthful awareness and our questioning of her dictated beliefs and she declared each and every one of us to be the personification of evil. We were regularly condemned by the unilateral jury of Prudence.

So, was Prudence Cumming's name appropriate? In my opinion she would have been happier and not so tightly wound up if she had embraced both her given names and struck a better balance between the two. Put it this way, if she had practiced less of the former, she might have experienced more of the latter.

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