Now that everyone has had fun making the original observation that NASA took a new kind of ride—Sally Ride—into outer space, we can all conjugate about how well Ride rode. Some of us had noticed her selection months before the flight—not because of her sex, but because of her name.

A few years ago I noticed in a similar way that a certain Mr. Aslan of King City, California, was the new president of Lions International. As coincidences go, this one seemed to be going too far. I called the local lodge and asked if Lions International realized that Aslan means lion in Turkish and that in C. S. Lewis’s best-selling Narnian books, Aslan the Lion is King. No, none of the Lions had known any such facts. I always like to light a little candle in the corner where I am.

I belong to the Mythopoeic Society, a literary group with special interest in the fantasies written by C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams. There is much emphasis upon medieval culture in the journal Mythlore and at the annual Mythopoeic conference. The founder and president of this society is Glen GoodKnight. He swears it is the name he was born with.

Likewise, for many years there has been a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary named J. Dwight Pentecost. And now we have a president at Concordia Seminary named Karl Barth. What I can’t understand is that the head of the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the Philippines is Jaime Cardinal Sin.

I got on the mailing list of the Ku Klux Klan recently (I think they got my name from the Nazi groups that send me junk mail), and I thereby discovered that the current Grand Dragon is a Mr. Black. Beautiful, in my opinion.

Once I was rushed to a hospital, and hurtled into surgery because of appendicitis. Later I learned that my surgeon had been a Dr. Corpus, and one of my nurses was Ms. Basin. Another time I was examined in a hospital by a Dr. Bonecutter. I can’t imagine how these men got through medical school. I read of a woman who went through medical school with the name Penny Wise, but that’s a different story.

I suppose there are many unforgettable names in the sports industry that I have never heard of. But I have heard of a six-foot, seven-inch basketball player named Purvis Short. And I wonder how Amby Burfoot liked his name when he was a runner; now he is a journalist.

In England today the only proper way for a lady to address her butler is by his last name alone. But Josephine Louis, wife of the current U.S. ambassador to Britain, insists upon calling her butler “Mister.” “His name is Kenneth Dear,” she explains. “I think it would sound rather odd if I said, ‘Would you pass the biscuits, Dear’.”

One of my favorite bookstores, full of art and whimsy, used to be owned by the Darlings. “Oh, the Darlings!” pleased customers remarked.

Western University School of Law is located near Disneyland, and its new president is Dr. William Lawless. The teacher of creative writing at a nearby college is William Blake. And a local religious workshop for improved communication in marriage is offered by Dr. David Bicker.

I saw an article a few months ago about the breed of computer fanatics who are addicted to playing with computers day and night; they are called hackers. My husband recently decided to take a class in computer literacy for teachers. His instructors were Mr. and Mrs. Gary Hacker. They did not tell the class the meaning of their name.

The Hackers remind me of a computer expert who has gone public with his misgivings about “computer literacy.” He is a New Hampshire computer consultant who did his graduate work in computer science at Harvard, and he works with some of IBM’s largest. He warns that computer literacy needs to begin with a healthy skepticism of these machines. All too often the output of computers is treated like the Word of God. All too often the output lacks quality, completeness, or appropriateness.

Who is this brutally honest and outspoken traitor in the computer industry? His name is Arthur Fink.

Tim Stafford is a free-lance writer living in Santa Rosa, California. He is a distinguished contributor to several magazines. His latest book is Do You Sometimes Feel Like a Nobody? (Zondervan, 1980).

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