Thursday, July 20, 2006

What Is In A Name?

My name is Herbert Stanley Morrison. My parents named me for Herbert Morrison, the radio announcer whose great moment of fame was the coverage of the explosion and fire that destroyed the Hindenburg.

"Why would they do this?" I hear you ask.

There are several contributing reasons for this decision.

- First, my date of birth happens to be May 6th, which is also the date of the Hindenburg disaster.

- Second, my grandmother used to speak of seeing Herbert Morrison lecture while she was a student at Northwestern University, so his name comes to mind in our household perhaps a little more readily than in the average American home.

- Third, my father is something of a trivia nut case, so had this idea already formed in the back of his mind on the off chance I came out on the right date.

- Fourth, my mother admits to being in a weakened state after my birth thus reducing her usual resolve in resisting my father's sometimes odd and always obscure ideas.

- And, finally, our last name is Morrison. My father told me that if our last name had been Bannister, I would have been named Roger, since my birthday is also an anniversary of Roger Bannister breaking the four minute barrier for running one mile.

Which brings us to my middle name, which, as far as I can tell, is not the middle name of the famed radio announcer. My father says he did not know Herbert Morrison's middle name but, when fishing about for it, a co-worker told him it was Stanley. The co-worker was from England and was thinking of the Right Honorable Herbert Stanley Morrison, MP, who had recently passed away, having apparently grown up in a household where "Oh, The Humanity!" was not a common refrain.

Things were hard before the web.

So I appear, technically, to have been named after a British Labour Party politician (and one time Foreign Secretary) and not the radio announcer. Still, in the spirit of the naming, I am going as the namesake of the radio announcer. He has a much better catch phrase.

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