WHAT WE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT.
It’s been a few days since I last blogged. It was our anniversary—we had the foresight to get married around the Memorial Day holiday—so we took a long weekend in one of our favorite top-secret, undisclosed locations. While sitting next to the bocci court, overlooking the Tennessee River, we met a dad and teenage daughter in town from Memphis for a soccer tournament (he pays, she plays).
He mentioned two interesting, seemingly unrelated things about Memphis. First, they have a great deal of race-related conflict. Second, they have idiosyncratic (love that word) street naming habits: you’re driving down the street and suddenly it changes names. Same street. Different name. The conversation reminded me of something I once heard (or read) about Louisville, KY.
According to the story (and I can’t remember where I heard or read this, so if I’m wrong, somebody from Louisville can correct me and I’ll fix it), Louisville has one big, major street running through the middle of town. On one side of the street are all the “white” neighborhoods. On the other side are all the “non-white” neighborhoods. Funny thing is, though, that all the cross streets change names as they cross the big main street.
Turns out names really matter to people. They don’t mind living on the same street with folks from a minority they don’t like...as long as it’s not the same street name. As a fairly balanced guy (and I’m not using that as a clinical term), I just wanna say, “Get a life!” But as a student of marketing, I find this whole name thing fascinating. I guess there will always be work for lexicographers (isn’t that the art and science of naming things?).