“You know what your problem is?” Kevin asked me one day, early in our courtship.
What do you answer when someone asks you whether you know what your problem is? The possibilities are endless. I went with, “No.”
We were grocery shopping, in the produce aisle at Fairway, and Kevin turned and picked up a basketball-size watermelon. “This,” he said, holding it out, “is your brain.” The kumquats were, inexplicably, next to the watermelons, and he picked up one of those. “And this,” he holding it out in turn, “is your imagination.”
It would be more accurate to say that this is one of my problems. I am relentlessly analytical, reality-based, concrete-bound, with an imagination the size of, yes, a kumquat.
But I wasn’t going to give up without a fight.
“Not true!” I said, counterfactually. And added, as evidence, “I thought up the melon skit.”
Since, conveniently, we were in the melon section, I went on to put on the melon skit, a six-second conversation between a honeydew and a cantaloupe. It amused several passers-by, but Kevin was unmoved.
“That’s not imagination, that’s just wordplay.”
“And wordplay doesn’t count as imagination?” But I was just posturing. Wordplay is the product of an analytical mind with a sense of humor. Fiction is the product of imagination. Choreography is the product of imagination. Guernica, Rashomon, and Beavis and Butthead are the products of imagination. The melon skit … well, you get the point.
This means that Kevin has to carry the burden of being our household’s sole-source imagination. And it’s not like he’s got a lot to spare. Although he’s not as lopsided as I am, Kevin also leans toward the analytical, and he can’t quite make up for my deficit.
That’s why, between us, we have such trouble naming things.
A few posts back, commentariat member Kingsley confessed that all his chickens are named Spot, and a discussion of Dr. Seuss’s “Too Many Daves” ensued. Mrs. McCave, you see, had twenty-three sons and named them all Dave. At our house, a McCavian lack of imagination has led us to name our cat Cat.
Our chickens are left to name themselves. That’s why our favorite, who’s a lighter color than the others, is named Blondie. There are only two other chickens – the other two Buff Orpingtons – we can reliably distinguish from the flock. One is oversized and feathery, and is therefore Queenie. The other has no stand-out characteristics, and we call her No Name. Hey, it’s her own fault.
Among the Rhode Island Reds, there’s Big Red and Chicken Little, but we’re never quite sure who’s who.
We sometimes get an assist from other people. When I posted about our boisterous new chick that Kevin believes is a rooster, astute commenter Susan said she was a dead ringer for Phyllis Diller. (Check the picture. It’s her to the life.) Phyllis it is. And we were going to borrow a line from Caddyshack and name our boat the Ahoy Polloi until our friend Linda pointed out that you should picture yourself calling the Coast Guard in an emergency before you decide on a boat name. We find that this stymies us, and all our boats remain nameless.
Of our eleven new chicks, only one besides Phyllis has a name. A few days after we got them, we noticed that one of our flock was smaller than the others, and seemed to be a bit lethargic. Then, yesterday, Kevin realized she has a problem with her beak. There’s a chunk missing from the top of it, either an injury or a malformation.
The good people at Murray McMurray have assured me that there’s a good chance the beak will fill in and the chick will be fine. We’re rooting for her, and are encouraged that she seems to be eating, drinking, and exhibiting normal chick behavior. Because she’s a Barred Rock and an underdog, of course we call her Rocky.
The rest of them all just eat, sleep, and run around. We can tell most of them apart, since they’re so many different breeds, but none has brought herself to our particular attention. So, for now, they’re all Dave. Or maybe Spot. But I’m thinking Oliver Boliver Butt would be an excellent name for a chicken.