You may not know it, but I was employed in new home sales for seven years. It’s a very serious business with a low percentage of profit, about 2%. The house model names, the streets, and even the communities end up with serious designations. I always thought it would be fun to be a little less intense about the names.
We could have street names like Corn Dog Court, Corte de Cinnabon, Taco Tuesday Terrace, Watermelon Slice, Burrito Boulevard, Romaine Road, Donut Drive, and my favorite Artichoke Avenue. There’s a street in Pacific Palisades called Friends. I like that. We’ve really lost our sense of whimsy. I miss it.
Some of the community names don’t seem very appealing to me. Sandy Springs evokes a sense of water coming up on your property in places you really don’t want it and lousy soil in which to plant. The Meadows at Schlepkos Farms will be misspelled for the next five generations. A small town called Little Hope in Texas, and Death Valley, California must have difficulty marketing the idea of a visit. There’s a place in Riverside County, California called Massacre Canyon. I don’t believe I would spend the night in the Massacre Canyon Inn.
There are town names that are whimsical and make me laugh. Why, Arizona was named after a Y in the road. The Boring, Oregon, explanation put me to sleep. Good Grief, Idaho, had a population of 6 when I was a boy if you counted the town’s two dogs. Zzyzx was named to attract tourists, though I suspect the word did not reach Czechoslovakia where I am told it is a common family name.
In our, too-serious world, one needs an occasional laugh. Chuckles are best produced by folks who care less about impressions and more about impact. I’m reading Bob Hope’s book, Five Women I Love, about his USO tours during the Vietnam War. Standing on the stage with one of the many beauties with whom he toured, he commented on the number of fellows that were taking pictures. He said, “If those fellows are taking pictures of me, we need a new army.” Bob never took himself too seriously which formed the foot of his leg up in the comedy world.
Another comedian who makes me giggle is Jeff Allen. He is all over Youtube. Jeff: “In the America I grew up in, if a kid fell off the monkey bars and chipped a bone in his arm that was tragic, but it was funny to the rest of us. No reason to take the monkey bars off the playgrounds. We all did dumb things. That’s how you learn not to do dumb things.”
Find the humor. Look for a chance to be spontaneous. Go for a walk at a different time of day. Walk your usual route in the opposite direction. Do that local attraction you have never found time for. Take a train. Walk the beach barefooted with the sand between your toes. You get the idea.
We should never lose our sense of whimsy.