What's in a Name?

Jogging the memory banks

boat names illustration
According to author Dale Carnegie, a person’s name is, to them, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Just don't stare too hard at the nametag.Dennis Friel

Some boats we name after the wife or kids. Others we name after a "reel" thing in our lives, and there are more than a few puns too. Take the world-famous Chunda, the name of Stewart Campbell's boats: "chunda" is Aussie slang for puking. Jerry Dunaway saw The Hooker on a boat in Australia and called the owner to ask if he could use it on his own boat back in Texas. Jerry was in the TV-and-appliance rental business; he just liked the name, meaning to hook fish, but the girl logo meant something else entirely.

There was a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when I was young called Upyrs II that I thought was a good one. Wet Dream was the No. 1 name for a boat a few years ago, according to BoatUS. Then there are names like Sunday Money — Dale Earnhardt's boat — that everyone recognizes for the owner's celebrity status.

Most all boats have the manufacturer’s name on the side and then a name on the transom. It helps jog our memory to distinguish who built the boat, and from there, most of the time we can remember the captain, the crew and the owner’s names. Car models come up with some really strange names too. Then there are buildings with fancy names, streets with people’s names and stadiums with corporate names.

Everything seems to get a name — fishing reels, lures and even knots and techniques. People love to name things after themselves.

At my tournaments, I get to meet so many people for one time each year, and I try my best to remember everyone’s name. But when I see the same person 12 months later, my memory fails me with so many great people I come across. I really want to greet each person by their name, whether I see them at a tournament, a boat show, on the docks or even in the aisles at the grocery store.

Charles Perry and I were walking down the docks during the White Marlin Open, and each time we saw someone we recognized, we would first ask each other what their name was. Once we met them, we would tell them our names, hoping the other person would do the same.

Each time, they would say, “Yep, I know you guys,” and start talking about the fishing. We decided we needed to get some T-shirts made that read, “We are old. Please reintroduce yourself.” The same thing happens walking a boat show or other trade event.

According to author Dale Carnegie, a person's name is, to them, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. That's from his best-seller How to Win Friends and Influence People. Years ago, I was told it was the second-best-selling book in the world (this was long before Harry Potter). I recommend that all of us who deal with the public read this book. And you will always remember that people like to hear their name.

Going to parties where they give you a name tag at the door helps, but most of the time the font is so small, you see everyone squinting to read your name while staring at your chest. This does not go over too well when looking for your friend’s wife’s name, staring and squinting at her chest. So if you throw an event, please make the font bigger so we can actually read it.

And if you see CP or some of us older guys on the docks at a fishing tournament or boat show, please reintroduce yourself first before we start talking about fishing. It will help us remember you and the stories that we shared together, rather than trying to remember where we know you from.