Saturday, March 19, 2005

Feast of St. Joseph

Hard to think of a better name for a guy than Joe.

Think about it. A Joe is a regular guy: nothing fancy, nothing spectacular (apparently). Just a decent, down-to-earth guy. There when you need a hand or a friend. Steady. Welcome. Regular. A Joe's very presence is often healing; his bearing, strong; his skill, athletic; his sense, down-home literary.

Not all Joe's are saints: true, a few have gone bad; but, note that they usually go by their last names, so shameful is their disgrace. No-one's ever heard of a "bad Joe" or an "irregular Joe". This is no coincidence. Most Joes are known, like the original Saint, as patrons and protectors of families, fathers, expectant mothers (pregnant women), travellers, immigrants, house sellers and buyers, craftsmen, engineers and working people in general. Who's left? Not many.

Sure -- the elite love to demean Joe by giving him the dismissive surname -- Blow, Bloggs, Doakes, and Sixpack. Yeah, well... when was the last time a Distinguished Professor of Eclectic Studies named Theodore stopped to help you change your tire?

Don't get me wrong--there are other wonderful names. But, as wonderful as they are, they all have their flaws. Richard, for example, suggests nobility and courage; but, how does one wear that name nowadays? Well, there's Rick? Calls to mind the illustrious Mr. Springfield. How about Rich? Little there. One's last choice, then, is Dick. 'Nough said.

And, John -- magnificent name. Plain -- maybe too plain. Common -- though, not in same solid, comforting way of Joe. Moreover, John's associations are unseemly.

And, take Harry (please). The very name conveys action and urgency -- like something is about to happen. Unfortunately, it's often a happening we don't relish.

What? Ned? Can someone tell us where "Ned" comes from? It would seem more prudent not to inquire. Ted, you say? Don't get some of us started.

Clive? Well, of course, it suggests a certain wisdom and generosity. But, it doesn't translate well in the States.

Sadly, the troubling associations continue. Rob? That's easy. Bob? Helplessly tossed by the waves. Bill? Something else to pay. Fred? Flinstone comes to mind. Pat? Too soft.

No. When you get right down to it, there's just nothing like a Joe -- just nothing like a good cup of coffee.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Well, that disposes of Dick and Harry but what of the illustrious Tom? There's a sound and solid name surely - although I will admit that it might bring doubts to mind. Yet those doubts were ultimately satisfied and the name went on to signify almost everyone (if we but consider Uncle Cobley and all). I believe there was one over here who was famous for having a cabin too...

Am in complete agreement on the name Clive, however. Wouldn't wish that one on my worst enemy...

3/19/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Ned said...

Yes of course, Joe is a popular appellation. A fine name, aside from having the obvious defect of starting with a "soft" consonant and ending in an open vowel sound that shapes the mouth like a slightly surprised and befuddled "O" then trails off without an appropriate closure. A little wishy-washy but still, an American die-hard.

Ned of course, is sometimes short for Nedward, a name indicating movement towards that thing we call "Ned". It is also a nickname for Nedmond, "mond"(monde) of course indicating "world" and thus, the world according to Ned, containing all things Ned-like. It may even be a code word, November Echo Delta. In yet other cases, it is simply a diminutive of an anagram of another name entirely. Monosyllabic and strong, it inspires and leads.

3/19/2005 05:55:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Tom is a fine name -- though, it's masculinity is so in question that we must continually add "boy".

Clive is as unfairly treated as Dexter or Norbert.

Some say Ned's divine, but let's face it -- it remains very much a suffix for the past, whether or not this was plan-ned.

3/20/2005 12:20:00 AM  
Blogger palinurus said...

Silent Holy Joe
From scripture this we know
Spent his time with Christ and Mary
That is why his words were nary

3/20/2005 03:13:00 AM  

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