There’s a simple answer. But when you think about it, names are not often really simple.
I think about other times I had to name a baby—most notably those of the flesh-and-blood variety. Laying aside the peculiar naming conventions of our household (the subject of another post, to be sure), finding something to pair with a surname like “Furth” presents endless opportunities for Truly Unfortunate Monikers.
“Arthur Rutherford Furth”
Needless to say, we saddled the poor kid with none of these (and in fact, due to the aforementioned Peculiar Naming Conventions, she is not a Furth at all). When she emerged she entered into a name that fit her, and still does.
When I decided to start my own business I tried on a series of different possibilities, looking for a name that would truly fit this new venture.
I started, naturally enough, thinking “My business, my name.” But my own name is a peculiar one: a graceful, polysyllabic Italianate given name, paired with a blunt German sneeze. I don’t know what my parents were thinking. (Actually I do: they wanted to name me for my grandmother, and they figured that since I’d probably get married some day, the “Furth” part would be temporary.) Don’t get me wrong—I love my name, and it has the advantage of being nearly unique. To my knowledge there is exactly one other Isabella Furth (actually Fürth) now living on the planet, somewhere in Rostock Germany. We have never met. But it was simply not right for my business: too direct, unpoetical, awkward.
My brief attempts to do something clever with my initials likewise fell short, notwithstanding several helpful suggestions from the Co-Namer in Chief. (“IF-fy ventures?” No. “IF/Then?” No. “IFs, Ands, & Buts?” Absolutely NOT.) Childhood nicknames were too cutesy (Monkeyboots, Pelican Girl, Isa-Bellow).
But as it happens way back in the Stone Age of the Internet, I ran my name through an anagram generator. Here’s what came out:
Bluefish Altar! It became one of my standard Internet handles, and its permutations have been propagating across chat rooms and forums for nigh on two decades now.
And it is only in writing this that I realize why Bluefish seems so appropriate. It IS my name, just rearranged. And I quite like this new version: it has oceans in it, and a nod to Dr. Seuss, plus the faintest whisper of I AM LORD VOLDEMORT. (Extra points for anyone who gets the reference.)
A new name that is an old name, transformed. What could be more fitting for a new phase of life?