What's Your Seashell Name?
This special Spring Break edition of the Baby Name Wizard Blog comes courtesy of a regional seashell identification chart. As pretty as the shells are, what really captured me was their names.
A thick but otherwise unremarkable clamshell takes on gravitas as the Ponderous Ark. A tiny cone of whorled white, like a miniature serving of soft-serve ice cream, goes by the improbably Dickensian name Humphrey Wentletrap. And don't you feel a little betrayed at the thought of a False Cerith?
Shell names come in several flavors, which correspond to the main categories of surnames. Locative names indicate a place you're associated with, as in the surname Meadows or the shell name North Atlantic Whelk. Occupational names indicate a job or function you perform, like Baker or the Borer Shell. Personal association names are taken from the given name of someone you're linked to, as in Anderson or the Fulton's Cowrie. Finally, physical nicknames take their cues from distinctive elements of appearance, like Bianchi or...ah how to choose? For it's in the physical descriptions that seashell names really soar. The Hard-Edged Fleshy Limpet, the Blood-Mouthed Conch, the Wrinkled Dog Winkle, the Turkey Wing?
Looking over the chart I couldn't help but contemplate, if I were a seashell, what would they call me? So in the grand tradition of "what's your soap opera name" (middle name + street where you grew up) and "porn name" (childhood pet + street), let's find our seashell names. I'll give you two options:
Place you grew up + Breed of first pet + First object you see when you look up from your computer
Word that describes your hair + Your best feature + -ed + Occupation
I look forward to reading about all of you New Jersey Spaniel Teacups and Curly-Lipped Teachers.