by Bob Schwartz

Man With No Name

You call it rain
but the human name
doesn’t mean shit to a tree
—Eskimo Blue Day, Jefferson Airplane

You have a child. You start a business. You invent a product. Once and often you will be caught in the process of naming things.

It is fun and daunting. Maybe you leave it to chance. Maybe you spend hours, days, of endless meetings and sleepless nights wrestling with the factors and implications. The child carries it for a lifetime (unless they change it, which they might). The business, product, organization might float or sink because of your choice. Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter.

Maybe someday someone interested will ask about the choice. You may have a story, a long explanation. Or you didn’t actually know what you were doing, but have to say something. You take credit. Or blame.

Naming is one of the very first things God does in the Bible, right after the initial creation. So we are godlike in our naming, for better or worse.

But as the Jefferson Airplane reminds, just as the Tao Te Ching says, just as Shakespeare says. The name is not the thing.

© 2023 by Bob Schwartz