My wife met someone today named “Thistle.” It might be “Willow,” though. She’s not sure. Very Taos, at any rate. But you have to give people credit for reinventing themselves here the way so many do. While this is a local industry, it does take a mess of hot lust to name yourself after a plant, animal, saint, or natural feature of the landscape. (I once met a woman named “Feral,” which seems to cover all the bases.)
Sometimes people do it to their children. When we first moved to northern New Mexico and I was freaking out so hard, there was a time sitting outside at a restaurant when the family next to us let their toddler plop down in the dirt and suck on gravel. Drool and pebbles were running down her chin. I thought the kid might choke to death and couldn’t eat my cheeseburger. One of the group spoke up, but the mother was cool because her little girl would be exposed to all these natural germs and develop more immunity against diseases! Of this I have no doubt, but right there is the perfect storm. Assuming she survived, she might go by “Phloem” or “Nimbus” these days. I don’t know if I could take that, so this is something of an existential threat. I told my wife that were I to be miraculously re-inserted into Taos as a younger man and even more miraculously gifted with a son, that I would have to go the other way and name him “Carburetor.”
“I don’t think that’s funny at all,” she said.
Oh, but I did.
There’s also this pet name I never get to use and that is “Fremont.” All I have to do is think of a kid named Fremont and I start to laugh—lacking same, I turn to pets, but the thing is useless on a cat. Put them all together, though, and we have “Fremont Carburetor Farr.” Hilarious yet sound! Resonant and full of greatness!
She liked that one even less, but now I have to use some version of it in a book.