What’s In A Name?

Doug Laser

“Yeah, I’m pretty successful.” – Doug Laser

I had a conversation with a friend of mine several months ago about the significance of a person’s name and whether it has any bearing on how successful that person will be in life.  We came to the conclusion that if you want to become an important person like a President, Astronaut, or Marine Psychologist; you’d better have the name for it.

I think one of the coolest names to have is Doug Laser.  I mean if your name was Doug Laser (doesn’t matter if you’re a guy or a girl), you pretty much are going to succeed in life.  You probably will become a secret agent, a doctor, or a CEO of a multinational corporation.  Basically, if you’re Doug Laser you’re not going to be homeless.

Names can make or break a person.  Some names are just plain better than others.  If you have a dumpy, homeless name (like maybe Dumpy Homeless for instance), then you might just wind up on the street, while other names just plain “fit in” with the social and economical elite.  Take for instance Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island.  He’s got a few things going for him here.  For one, his first name is flippin’ Thurston.  Typing it out now conjures up images of elegance.  Images like fancy people in gowns and top hats hobnobbing about what the queen was wearing Tuesday last.  You can bet your bottom dollar Thurston doesn’t work at 7-eleven.  The second thing ole Thurston has is that he has that cool ‘III’ at the end of his name, as if to tell the world I have a name that is so great that we just couldn’t let it die when ‘I’ or ‘II’ died; “Take notice…I am Thurston Howell, the success lives on!”  And the world collectively replies, “Oh yeah, no doubt about it…you’re a success.  Your name is Thurston flippin’ Howell III.”

Continuing with our Gilligan’s Island analysis, lets consider the name Gilligan.  Now Gilligan I can see working at a 7-eleven and if Bob Denver‘s goofy character had had the name Thurston and “the millionaire” had had the name Gilligan the show just would have confused the audience and people would have change the channel to My Three Sons.

I’ve compiled a chart to illustrate what I’m getting at and I’m sure there have been countless studies arriving at the same conclusion I have:  Reginald trumps Turd any day of the week.

Last names obviously also play a factor.  Rockefeller, Trump, Checkmate, Goldbarman, Ivagottalot…all of these last names are going to give the bearer a bit of an edge over individuals with last names like Rockbottom, Rumpittidump, and Garbage.

“Hi there…oh, you only have two names? What’s that like?” – Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

“Boobs!” – Charles Nelson Reilly

People who are referred to by three names are also a notch up from their two-name peers.  Success stories like Sarah Jessica Parker, Malcolm Jamal WarnerMary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Charles Nelson Reilly are all great examples of this phenomenon.  Reilly is a Tony-Winning actor.

Then there are names like Doug Laser, which are just plain cool.  Jet Masterson, Sonic Bladestream, Flint Crosshair…all of these fit the mold.  People with the cool names can part the Red Sea and maneuver as if they have an escalator to success.  Vin Diesel, Diablo Cody, Boz Scaggs and Snake Plissken come to mind.  Have you ever met a Zenith Champion before?  I haven’t either but I imagine he‘d look something like this:

Zenith Champion

As with all things there are exceptions to the rule.  Flopsy Clownbiscuit might be an extremely successful name in say, the circus.  Tapsy Twinkletoes might excel on Broadway.  But in the mainstream hussle and bussle, Fortune 500, cubicle, sit at your desk facing a computer world, Tapsy and Flopsy might have a bit of a challenge fitting the mold.