The United States of Fred

It’s been a week or two since I did a blog post. This is due to a feline-related tragedy during which I tripped over a cat in the dark, and landed on my laptop. This, while probably leaving its internal organs intact, destroyed the monitor, and if I boot up that computer now, I get a screen which looks something like part of a post-modern art exhibit.  So I’m reduced to a tablet, and yesterday I spent more money than I was comfortable with on a Bluetooth keyboard for it.  It makes blogging (and most other things) considerably easier than trying to write something with just the tablet.  The kitty which was the proximate cause of the tragedy has been affixed to the wall with duct tape so that this never happens again.  Her pitiful cries are getting fainter…

But that’s not what this is all about.  No, it’s about this:  If Mr. and Mrs. Vespucci had not named their son “Amerigo,” and instead had named him, oh, Fred or something, things would be vastly different in this hemisphere.  This the sort of realization that hits me when I’m on the road, and come to the end of an audiobook, with no more downloaded.  By the way, audiobooks are the greatest invention for long-distance drivers since beef jerky.  They provide entertainment, keep me awake, and to a certain degree quiet the voices in my head.

Anyway, back to the Vespucci question.  What prompted this particular thought is the alarming number of businesses whose names begin with “Ameri.”  In just the past week, I’ve seen AmeriGas, AmeriStaff, AmeriBank, and  AmericInn, to name just a few.  A quick Google search turns up hundreds and hundreds more.  There’s AmeriBag, AmeriDoc, and maybe the worst, AmeriDream.  It’s a mortgage company.

I wonder what the motivation is in naming a business this way, particularly when said business is local or regional, and has no national reach.  Is it born from some odd sense of patriotism?  Or is it just AmeriDumb or AmeriLazy?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a flag-wavin’ patriot.  But I still don’t get it.

But that’s what made me think about the Vespucci family, which long ago, unwittingly, named two continents.  I wonder what may have happened if they had named their future cartologist “Fred” instead of “Amerigo.”  For one thing, we’d have North and South Fred.  We’d have the United States of Fred.  And we’d have FredGas, FredBank, FredStaff… you get the picture.  Sure it’s a dumb picture, but it’s a picture nonetheless.

Amerigo "Call Me Fred" Vespucci
Amerigo “Call Me Fred” Vespucci

Then there would be “Fred the Beautiful.”  And from Iran, we would hear the chants of “Death to Fred!”  And that would just make everyone giggle.

Okay, I guess I’ve pounded that stake into the ground as far as it will go.  I could write more on this, but it would just deteriorate (if it hasn’t already) into complete AmeriCrap.

In our next installment, I’ll explore why the sentence, “Hiring Smiling Faces” gives me the creeps.  Or maybe with that, I’ve already said enough on the subject.


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