Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

While looking for something on the net this morning I came across something else of interest. that happens a lot to me. I am known for my fondness of useless information, but it has helped me win a few Trivial Pursuit games. And I am easily amused and distracted. Anyway, while searching for whatever it was, I came across the name of a neurologist who lived in the first part of the 20th century. Interesting fellow, really, as he was knighted, then later made a baron. He served on a number of government committees in the areas of physical and mental health.

In the past, at least in the English speaking world, you were given a name and identified by your profession. A baker named Joe, was Joe the baker, and later Joe Baker. If you made barrels for a living, you became known as Cooper. In Gaelic families, your father was often referenced in your name. Hence Joe MacKinnon was really Joe, son of Kinnon, just as in families of Germanic descent "von" means the same as Mac : son of. And quite often, if you were born a Cooper, you became a cooper by trade. As time wore on, people drifted from the professions from which their ancestors were named.

What's more interesting to me is when a person's name reflects somehow in their choice of profession. For example, Joe Payne becoming a dentist, Joe Nurse becoming a doctor, Joe Baker becoming a....baker. I think Dear Abby or Ann Landers have had a few columns on this phenomena.

So when I came across this fellow this morning, the neurologist (if you're still with me), I was amused: Dr. Russell Brain. How much did this fellow's surname have to do with his choice of profession? Did he think before attending medical school of the consequences of becoming a doctor?

Who's your neurologist? Dr. Brain.
The Lord?
No, Jesus was taken. Lord Dr. Brain.....and of course in later years, Baron Brain.

See what I mean about easily amused?



Jim said...

Interesting. Thanks for sharing.



And now, you have easily amused ME! Thank you...

Linda D. in Seattle

Diane J Standiford said...

When people don't pronounce my name quite correctly, I say: "I love a Chevy, I can't STAND A FORD."
(which usually amuses only me, and the A is short, midwestern twang, so actually makes no sense.)

We bloggers are an odd lot. LOL

Charles-A. Rovira said...


Great things come from trivial pursuits. -"Napoleon"

I bet you answer all the questions on Jeopardybefore the players. (I started watching that before it was hosted by Alex Trebec. [You don't get any bonus points for knowing it was Art Fleming.])

My first wife and I use to drive people crazy playing Trivial Pursuits.

We wouldn't even bother setting up the board.

We'd just read the boxes of questions at each other. We had all of the games too. Sometimes we'd mix up the boxes just for fun.

Ever play Ubi?

Same kind of thing but all the questions were related to geography and the game board was a large Tyvek map.

The best answer we ever got was from somebody who was just disgusted with us.

Q: "What was the name of Puff The Magic Dragon's friend."

A: "Crispy"

mdmhvonpa said...

Hmmm, now if he had a son who married a woman in modern times with the surname of Bane ... and he was in the armed forces ...

Major Brain-Bane.

Or even Surgeon General Brain-Smith

Shauna said...

OK, Pa, if you're going to play that game...what if he married a Drain.....
Charles, the more trivial a piece of information, the more use I can make of it.....