Friday, March 8, 2013

Me llamo Tiglathpileser


There are not many good reasons to leave San Michez. I’m content to spend most evenings around the campfire with Merlin Bob and Hotrod. Even so, I take a few weeks every summer to journey yonder to Burnside, Louisiana and pay a visit to Miss Lizzy. We sit on her front porch, sip mimosas, and solve the world’s problems.
I love the Mississippi River Delta. It supplies the planet with food, clothing, music, and weirdness.
One day last July, Miss Lizzy and I were watching her handyman mow the yard. He’s an artist.
Miss Lizzy was humming a tune, barely audible over the drone of the antique Toro. I recognized it and sang along: “♫ Lizzy, Lizzy bo-bizzy, banana-fana-fo-fizzy, me-my-mo-mizzy…Lizzy. ♪”
She smiled, nodded, scowled, and demanded: “What’s got into people nowadays?”
“Gads,” sez I, “pick a topic.”
“The names they give their kids! Good Lord!”
I had to admit, “I do hear some horrendous handles.”
“Parents anymore just seem to pick random syllables out of their…out of a hat. So many go for names that sound French or like cowboys. I swear, the young couple next door named their most recent offspring Davy Crockett DeTonto!”
“Davy Crockett wasn’t a cowboy.”
“Well, he died at the Alamo. That qualifies in my book.”
I said, “I’d love to read your book.”
Miss Lizzy sat up straighter and said, “The only book that matters is The Good Book.”
“The Bible?”
“Of course! What ever happened to good, solid, old-fashioned Biblical names?”
“Like Peter, Paul, and Mary.”
“Exactly!” she shouted. “Names used to mean something! These days, every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named Buffalo Cisco LeWanker!”
“I like Adam, Matthew, and Luke.”
“How ‘bout Rebecca, Ruth, Esther, Eve, and Elizabeth?”
“Well, yeah…if it’s a girl.”
“If you’re lucky, it is.”
Miss Lizzy inspired me. With your kind indulgence, I’d like to suggest some other Biblical names, along with their meanings (all references KJV):

Zebedee: In ancient Babylonia, Zebedee was the Keeper of the Doo-Dah. (Matthew 4:21)

Shethar: Sailors in Biblical times paid little attention to adverb/pronoun order, even when speaking English. Shethar came from a familiar response our nautical friends gave to the question, “Where does she blow?” (Esther 1:14)

Zadok: Even Vulcans have Biblical names. (2 Samuel 8:17)

Parnach: Another Vulcan. (Numbers 34:25)

Keturah: Hey, Klingons, too! (1 Chronicles 1:32)—check out the names of her kids.

Puah: Another Klingon. Puah was the son of Dodo. It just wasn’t very intimidating: “I am Puah, son of Dodo!” The other kids gave him a really hard time. (Judges 10:1)

Shaashgaz: What Jumpin Jack Flash was back in the day. (Esther 2:14)

Eldad: Means “father” to someone who flunked Spanish I. (Numbers 11:26)

Raamah: The King of Lama-Ding-Dong. (Genesis 10:7)

Zerubbabel: That’s someone who just drank a whole firkin of wine trying to say “Jerusalem.”  (1 Chronicles 3:19) (See also John 2:6)

Elzaphan: Same guy trying to say “elephant.” (Exodus 6:22)

Rakkon: Ancient French for “raccoon.” (Joshua 19:46)

Pekah: Official charged with keeping track of how many pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. (2 Kings 15:29)

Suppose you are blessed with triplets & suppose they’re of the male persuasion. How about

Shem, Ham, and Japheth? (After Shem retired, it was Curly, Ham, and Japheth.)

Mibzar: A cousin of the Coneheads (1 Chronicles 1:53)

Jozadak!: Something Drill Sergeants can yell in G-Rated movies. (Ezra 3:8)  

Iphedeiah Shashak!: That Drill Sergeant’s really ticked! (1 Chronicles 8:25)

Maadiah: Comedy routine in which the part of a feisty elderly woman is played by a young man. (Nehemiah 12:5)

Yes, friends and neighbors, names used to mean something, and with your help they can again.

Abimelech-Abimelech-Abimelech-Abimelech…

♪ In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…♫ (Judges 10:1)

______

(By the way, Nehemiah 12, the whole chapter, is jam-packed with some Jim-dandy handles.)

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