Back to Montaigne:
(Adam Gopnik wittily writes about his "lowly" name.)
(David Carradine named his kid "I.P. Freely"? (Note 1) This somehow lends sense to the now-knowledge that Carradine was into autoerotic asphyxiation. What ever happened to "Grasshopper"? But I digress...)
Josh Foer in his book on becoming a memory champion, Moonwalking With Einstein, gives some hints about how to remember the names of an entire roomful of new people. It all starts with linking the name to something about the way the person looks.
I remember taking a Psychology class in college and the topic of names and how they affect people came up. With my faulty memory, I recall the Prof repeating what we now know to be an urban legend: that a family named Hogg had two daughters and named them Ima and Ura. Ima Hogg really existed (and she looks sorta hot in the pic that accompanies the Wiki), but there was no Ura.
However, there really is a Soleil Moon Frye, which conjurs up an image of the sun shooting out freakishly long tendrils of flares and scorching the moon (and I guess I'm watching it all from a spaceship). And my favorite NBA player's name, "Zaza Pachulia," actually exists.
Because my own name is easy and therefore pleasing, but dull and faceless to me, I think if I ever get published as a "real" writer (not some overweening dipshit blog-head), I might go with something really stand-out, like "Zaza Zappa Hogg."
Addenda: Crapper and Titzling
Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet, but he did exist and was a plumber and did help to popularize the toilet.
Otto Titzling, unfortunately, did not invent the bra and appears to have not even had existence. My mom told me Titzling invented the bra, and I believed her. Why? Because mom and dad together told me, laffingly, that Thomas Crapper invented the toilet and I didn't believe them, so I looked it up myself, age 12 or so. Danged if mom and dad weren't putting me on! (I found a dopey source that gave too much credit to Crapper.) So mom was probably telling me the truth - although laffing when she told me of Titzling - and I lazily accepted it for years. Why? It was a good little joke! It's too much fun to believe and it seems to do little harm to, when given the chance, promulgate the idea that a guy named "Titzling" invented the bra. At least it turns the conversation towards breasts; that's always fun. While it lasts. If you look at his first name - Otto - one of the "O" breasts is slightly bigger than the other, which is statistically normal for women. So you see, all in all, very convincing that "Otto Titzling" invented the bra.
Convincing if you're a 15 year old boy, maybe?
What's your favorite real or fake name?
Note 1: Better sources give his offspring's name as "Free" and not "I.P. Freely." Furthermore, Wikipedia tells me "Free" changed his name to "Tom." Free/Tom's mom is Barbara Hershey. Me suspects someone was being unkind to David, Free, or both with the "I.P." joke found on numerous websites.