Happy July 4th to our readers around the world, and happy Independence Day to our readers in the good ol’ U.S. of A.!
This is a deviation from our usual posts for three reasons:
1. Ever the innovator, Rob decided to get his Independence Day hangover a day early and asked me (Dave) to fill in for his usual Wednesday post. *Just kidding, he’s a teetotaler (a funny name for someone who chooses not to drink), but I am covering for him today. Rob will be back tomorrow with a post about a guy who enjoys washing dishes.
2. In recognition of the institution of Democracy, we’re opening up several polls to you, our enlightened readers, to help select some funny-named highlights of American history! The best part (especially for our fans around the globe) is that you don’t need to fill out a lengthy registration form, stand in line, or even show us your papers to vote – so vote away, Azerbaijani funny-names lovers!
3. I’ve decided to go over our usual 500-word limit because today is a special day.
So before we get to the voting, some serious words about today’s meaning (with some Constitutionally-protected lightheartedness mixed in)
Like everything else in the world, people will have differing opinions of Independence Day – and some aren’t always positive. Some will just be glad to be able to take off work and party on a weekday. A truly skeptical few may find the idea of celebrating the U.S.A. while drinking imported beer and eating items named after European locales – frankfurters, hamburgers, french fries, maybe even English muffins for those with a few screws loose – a bit peculiar, which I suppose it is, in a way. Some, disillusioned with elected officials from all parties and at all levels of government, may not feel like they have much to celebrate about democracy. Others will say we should celebrate America every day, and that saving our flag-waving and appreciation of America for 0.274% of the year is not appropriate or sufficient. Still others may find that the true promise of America gets lost in this patriotic ritual, and that we should reflect more on what America means to us and the world as a whole.
The best part, though, is that every one of those views is acceptable and protected, and if today makes even a few more of us reflect and appreciate those things, then it’s a day worth celebrating.
Here at Funny Names HQ, that’s what we love.
Being in America means we get the opportunity to pursue our peculiar ambition of writing a blog about awesome and inspiring people with wacky, hilarious, off-the-wall names without having to worry about people knocking down our doors in the middle of the night.
At midnight of April 18, 1775, Paul Revere didn’t have that comfort, but acted with legendary (and sometimes mis-remembered) bravery anyway. So did Washington, Jefferson, Adams, Jay, Madison, Franklin, or any of the thousands of nameless heroes who helped form this country. Now we do. That’s pretty awesome.
No, these rights are not uniquely American, but neither are we, and we embrace them nonetheless. I was born here, but my brother Rob was born in Canada, where we lived for a decade. My best friend Arto just recently moved here from Finland and has his green card and is on a path to citizenship.
He comes from a place with significant freedoms already. Some of our readers are from countries where voting on the funny names in this post will be as close as they’ve come to having a vote politically. We send our thoughts and best wishes to them, and – in a non-condescending, non-Anglocentric way – hope that our blog can help make things a little bit better for them as they navigate more pressing challenges than the ones we are blessed to deal with every day.
Democracy presents trade-offs that we continue to negotiate – balancing political freedom with security and order, or balancing financial freedom with a social safety net that helps provide opportunities for our most disadvantaged citizens and helping cut down harmful monopolies. But the fact that we live in a place where generations of people have worked their tails off to protect our rights to figure these things out through our many successes and failures, and has served (not always perfectly, but always with good intentions) to help provide a galvanizing force for increasing civil rights around the world, makes us three very happy, quirky little people. It al and humbles me by how small a role we play in the grand scheme of things.
So while our American readers kick back and enjoy their (probably) imported beers and our readers around the world tick another July day off their calendar, I hope this post inspires some people to reflect on how lucky we are in so many ways, and to continue pursuing our vision of a better world.
Now, let’s vote on a great reason to appreciate American history – funny names!
Hopefully this voting will give you all a chance to realize the difficult task* we face every day when trying to select just one name from the rich and bountiful reservoirs of people with funny names.
*Sarcasm alert, because the truth is we love this blog and writing about funny-named people way more than we should.