Weird names, ironic and otherwise

Ransom Riggs

Having grown up with a name like Ransom -- people sometimes assume it's a blog-world pseudonym; nope -- I know all about the blessings and curses of having a weird name. When you're young, they get you all the wrong kind of attention: teachers who can't pronounce your name during roll call; uninspired, sing-songy mocking; wedgies. When you're older, however, your name undergoes a mysterious transformation from just-plain-weird to unique, and suddenly you're a standout in a world full of Jims and Janes. There's another, entirely unwelcome transition your name can undergo, however, though so far I've been lucky enough to avoid it: weird or not, circumstance can make your name ironic. That's right: I'm just one kidnapping away from having a ridiculous name. Here are a few people (and places) that haven't been so lucky.

Oh, the irony
"¢ After a recent near-accident on a British Airways flight -- the plane lost power as it approached the runway from the air -- the pilot singled out the co-pilot for his heroism in averting disaster: "Mr Coward did a most remarkable job in landing the aircraft." Link

"¢ This was a particularly hilarious (and anonymous) comment on

A friend of ours works in the local gardening store with a guy named "Bat Dung." He asked him what his name meant in Vietnamese one day and got this story. In Vietnam, "Bat" means "8." He was the 8th child in the Dung family and his parents apparently ran out of names (or were just tired of having kids?) so they just named him "8." When he immigrated to the U.S. he hoped people wouldn't laugh at his name anymore. Sadly, that's not the way it turned out ...

A hospital that's DOA: after enduring years of jokes, R.H. Dedman Medical Center in Dallas finally changed its name to R.H.D. Medical Center a few years ago. Apparently, the name change has had no effect on the hospital's mortality rate.

Ridiculous Names from British History
Back in 2005, census-takers in Cornwall, England decided to compile a list of the weirdest names their town had ever registered. They surfaced with an impressive haul of oddities:

"My all-time favorites are Abraham Thunderwolff and Freke Dorothy Fluck Lane," archivist Rene Jackaman said. Other discoveries included Boadicea Basher, Philadelphia Bunnyface, Faithful ######, Susan Booze, Elizabeth Disco, Edward Evil, Fozzitt Bonds, Truth Bullock, Charity Chilly, Gentle Fudge, Obedience Ginger and Offspring Gurney. Levi Jeans was married in Padstow, Cornwall, in 1797. Other remarkable duos in the marriage records included Nicholas Bone and Priscilla Skin, joined in wedlock in 1636; Charles Swine and Jane Ham in 1711; John Mutton and Ann Veale in 1791, and Richard Dinner and Mary Cook in 1802.

Who's the weirdest-named person you know (besides me)?

Thanks to Ironic Sans for the graphic.