What’s In A Name


Sunshine That Colours The Mist Margaret Potts looked down at the passport application form and frowned. Her first name which I shall repeat for the incredulous was ‘Sunshine That Colours The Mist’. A name full of resonance and possible meanings, but which takes quite a long time to get off the tongue, even when sober.

Those reckless free-spirited folk at the passport form design department, hidden deep within government offices, where baldness is encouraged and tans are frowned upon, had thought of many things but never how to cram  the first name of someone whose father was a breeze sipping hippie into a box designed for individuals at least in touch with some aspects of the normal.. “OK guys” they had said. “Chuck it at us. Don’t spare your punches.” Names of every faith, culture, colony and sect were inserted in a trial run which often involved working through the night and took some weeks to complete. Jackets were removed. Finally  its author’s were confident that their design was fit to tackle the wild variations thrown up by an exotic and multi cultural world and to date this had proved to be the case.

What these ‘Form Freaks’ had not taken account of was some odd hippy like figure, now in his sixties, who earned an uncertain living selling rare vegetables on a hillside in a county unspoiled by prosperity  or a sense of common purpose. ‘Misty’ or ‘Sunny’ or even ‘Colours’ as she was sometime called , realised that getting her full name in the required box would require very small writing, and a note pinned to the form advising those who read it to employ the services of a magnifying glass. What to do ?

I can hear voices muttering with various levels of bewilderment, “Why didn’t she just change her name’. Good question. I should have thought of it before. The short answer is that she loved her father, and could never do anything which might distress him. He loved her name, which encapsulated his attitude to life. No I don’t know what his attitude to life was either. His appetite for subtlety had left him isolated and living dangerously beyond the frontiers of common sense.

You are talking about a guy who obtained his electricity from a number of small windmill generators scattered over his fields, with each generator being painted a different colour. Who dyed the strands of pasta in his  spaghetti bolognese in different colours, because it “renews our perception of the dish”. Who was clearly obsessed with ‘colour’. ( Try saying the word several times in various accents. OK, nothing happened here either but it was worth a try ). Who thought that in some unspecified decade of his life, a rainbow would settle magically on his land and reveal the secrets of life in several languages. Other than that he was a dab hand at chess and a bit of an amateur cross dresser.

I could talk more about ‘Misty’, ‘Sunny’ or whatever, but suffice it to say she had recently dived into the world of online dating. Among other whimsical requirements this only suggests you add your real name, false name or a short recipe for biscuits. In other words, the world is your oyster. ‘Fry me in Lemon Grass’, a lover of all things Thai, who lived a couple of continents away had spoken to her soul, chatted to her heart and whispered in her ear. She had to meet him. She must meet him. He was the beacon on her magic hilltop, but he was stuck in his home town by the needs of a sick grandmother and various other flights of fancy.

Who to confront? Her father, currently involved in  a heated but mystically charged correspondence with some algae in the pond at the bottom of his garden, or the Passport Office. She thought about it for some time, and decided to write to the Passport Office. “They love a challenge” she thought. “Dear Sirs or Madams, I have a problem you might be able to help me with”. With them, she thought, I can at least appeal to reason. She had had very little to do with government departments.

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About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Life, Love, Romance, writing and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to What’s In A Name

  1. renxkyoko says:

    What’s her name again? Sunshine That Colors the Mist Margaret Potts? That’s not unique though. Ron Artest, an NBA player has just changed his name to Metta World Peace.

    Like

  2. Oh wonderful! You are definitly my morning tonic. 🙂

    Let’s all change our names!

    “I Swear Far Too Much These Days is my new middle name. Now ro think of a first name… 🙂

    PS did you manage to send a random comment to my blog? I didnt receive one and there’s nothing in spam. Just curious and wondering if WP has got its act together yet.

    Like

  3. Dylan Hearn says:

    As a child of a hippy with a slightly unusual name whilst growing up in the 1970’s (less so now, thank goodness), this really resonates. Lovely writing.

    Like

  4. catterel says:

    What a lovely name – you may have given some parents-to-be an idea 😀

    Like

  5. Rosie Amber says:

    That made me laugh, thanks!

    Like

  6. Sarah Haynes says:

    Hoping this is something To Be Continued? Really enjoyed it.

    Like

  7. Jane Thorne says:

    Well done ‘Peter Ever Hopeful Ducky’ great post, love ‘Jane Flexible as Ever in Life Thorne’ x

    Like

  8. Simi K. Rao says:

    Very interesting indeed. I particularly liked the line ‘where baldness is encouraged and tans are frowned upon’. Isn’t that usual for all government departments and perhaps a ‘natural consequence’ of working in such places. 🙂

    And I wanted to thank you for liking the post on my book. I hope that you’ll read and review it.

    Like

  9. araneus1 says:

    magic! I’m surrounded by hippies at the moment…………… should not complain……. we used to be hippies, back in the day.
    terry

    Like

  10. Lovely, quite. Waiting for more.

    Like

  11. Pingback: What’s In A Name | Lenora's Culture Center and Foray into History

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  13. gotham girl says:

    There are so many lines in this that totally make me laugh out loud…just know that I so enjoy your writing! Fondly, your Ambassador to Culture (LOVE that!!!)

    Like

  14. This is a gem! Wonderful start. I want to hear more about Miss Sunshine Colours the Mist! Excellent beginning….

    Like

  15. katemahar says:

    I love this and I can’t wait to hear what happens next. Please tell me this is just the first installment in a long, wonderful story!

    Like

  16. rod says:

    This name is a serious problem. I remember watching people doing exams when we all had to fill in our names on the front of the paper before we could proceed. Half her time would be up before she could address the questions!

    Like

  17. Ari Putri says:

    LOL, her name alone is interesting. It’s horribly long and kinda weird (sorry Dad!)

    Really interesting!

    Like

  18. rckjones says:

    Wonderful story! You know, it’s strange to think about it, but many of our one-word names are actually whole sentences packed with meaning. It’s just not the fashion among English-speakers to give our children such literal names as “Sunshine that Colours the Mists” in English… but I’d bet we could translate it into Latin and be perfectly content! Your story made me think of this spectacular map project, where the cartographers have translated the names of the countries and cities of the world into their literal meanings. Somehow it made the world sound so much more magical to me:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/map_of_the_week/2013/07/map_literal_meanings_of_places_in_the_u_s.html

    Like

  19. Had me giggling, as you often do. My favourite line – “whose father was a breeze sipping hippie”. I want to do more of that!

    Like

  20. At least her name is a string of real words. So many names inflicted by irresponsible parents look like anagrams, or the phonetic attempts at spelling of a five year old.

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  21. Nice post! And thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Like

  22. Jane says:

    I truly hope there is more of this sage… I loved it….and this is from someone who has suffered with the name JANE!

    Like

  23. Alex Autin says:

    A really nice bit of writing, love the humor here. Without question one of my best reads of the week.

    Like

  24. leagpage says:

    Oh, I am still laughing. Besides our more pedestrian names, my parents also gave my sisters and me alternate names: Henrietta Hairstyle, Melissima Melodrama, and Decibel Foghorn. Guess which was mine.

    Like

  25. Chris Edgar says:

    The pithier lines like “jackets were removed” gave me a chuckle — I was reminded of Kurt Vonnegut. The quotations from the father were also reminiscent of Woody Allen’s writing to me. Great stuff.

    Like

  26. Ina says:

    Hi Peter,
    lovely 🙂
    A lot of people need to change their names because their parents were idiots at the time of their birth 🙂 and I suppose it costs money too. Maybe a good idea to give a child a name that is more common? Then he/she can always change it in something exotic later on. Is always better for the child’s mental health lol! 🙂

    Like

  27. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    You’re so funny! Love the name 🙂

    And having done passports only 2 months ago, I related. I’ve given Daniel four names, and I have four, and there isn’t always a box for a second middle name. This irritates me, that we should all be three box (name) people.

    Like

  28. Caroline says:

    Thank you for starting my morning with a giggle.

    And I just love the line:
    His appetite for subtlety had left him isolated and living dangerously beyond the frontiers of common sense.

    I know people who fall into this category!!!
    xxx

    Like

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  30. Pingback: A Character By Any Other Name | Wild and Woolly Wordmithing

  31. I LOVE Hippies!
    I love weird names.
    & I love you. X

    Like

  32. karenelliott says:

    ” ‘Fry me in Lemon Grass’, a lover of all things Thai, who lived a couple of continents away had spoken to her soul, chatted to her heart and whispered in her ear. She had to meet him. She must meet him. He was the beacon on her magic hilltop,” – love it!

    Like

  33. Thankyou, a wonderful story that has made me giggle….

    Like

  34. Loved it all, especially the bit about baldness being encouraged and tans frowned upon. You have described the archetypal civil servant so wonderfully! 🙂

    Like

  35. solarexpert says:

    Top stuff PL Wells! Amongst the many gems in the post one line jumped off the page “dangerously beyond the frontiers of common sense” I just don’t know why this one meant more than the others 🙂

    Like

  36. solarexpert says:

    Can you teach me how to write? I’m so enthused by your purple prose

    Like

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