What’s in a name?

Day two of howling winds and kazoo playing elves (see previous post) and I’m still enjoying it. I am pattern cutting for the rest of the week so the grimmer it is outside, the cosier I will feel whilst working all this stuff out. It is really awful for plenty of people though and I must remember that. As I catch the odd bit of news about the devastation caused, one thing springs to mind. Why do hurricanes have such rubbish names? I mean, seriously, Doris? This is hurricane Doris??? When I think of Doris I think of cleaning ladies, a lady in an apron and one of those wartime scarves wrapped around the hair kind of deals, probably a fag hanging out of the corner of her mouth as she idly pushes a broom about. 

It’s not the first time I thought of this, a Jamaican friend of mine got stranded whilst visiting her homeland during hurricane Gilbert. Gilbert? That’s a big round bald bloke in my mind, collapsed in an armchair in a down at heal gentlemen’s club, sipping sherry and reading the times between naps. Not something that flattened half the West Indies. She brought me back a t-shirt… “I survived hurricane Gilbert!” You have to admire the human race, everything, however awful, is a business opportunity to someone.  And then there was Katrina, wiping out huge areas of Louisiana, a young Scottish girl with red hair wheeling ’round at a kayleigh in a barn in the outer Hebrides. Granted, my perceptions of names displays my cultural stereotypes but then so do most people’s. The question is, why the quaint names for such an awful weather phenomenon?

I have a theory… Perhaps the storm warning centre is naming hurricanes after their exes? That horrible Gilbert who cheated on you, that Doris that ran off with your husband, Katrina who ran off with your girlfriend. I room full of angry, bitter, people, getting sozzled on gin whilst dragging up all their past romantic disasters. It makes as much sense as anything. 

If it were up to me, I would give them more accurate names, perhaps based on the Norse mythology or Lord of the rings. How about hurricane Thor’s Hammer? Treefeller? Bíll Skemmdarvargur? That last one was in Icelandic, means car destroyer, gives it gravitas I think. You’d know what you were getting then, maybe it would help people to prepare a bit better.

You never know, perhaps the trend would go full circle and we could start renaming people after the new storm names, it would give the more naive of us a gentle hint at who to avoid… “Oh, hello! So your name is Remotehogger Footballnutter? Really? Oh excuse me, I just remembered, I have to be somewhere, byeeee!” 

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