Naming the Things Around You

My flat currently has Internet troubles. Amongst other things to try and fix it I logged into the administrative site for our broadband to see if any settings needing playing with and noticed that I could see all the names of computers that had ever connected to the wireless box.

Out of 18 different electronic items, mine were the only ones called something other than “Name-PC” or a default mess of numbers and letters.

Is that weird? I know I’m not the only person to name my electronics, but is it more the norm to have your own name as your PC’s name? When I first got a laptop in 2004, I did name it “Suzanne’s Laptop” or something but my second laptop, my netbook and my current phone all have actual names! They’re huge parts of my life (especially my wonderful netbook. I don’t know how I coped without it).

I realise at this point you’re wondering what my various electronics are actually called:

Netbook: Jack
Laptop: Sandy Claws
Phone: Amalthea

Jack and Sandy Claws are named after characters in The Nightmare Before Christmas, a favoured obsession of mine, and Amalthea is the name of the unicorn in The Last Unicorn when she’s turned human. The Last Unicorn has been a favourite movie since I was a kid and when I eventually read the book as an adult, I loved the book too. I’ve seen both movies more times than I can count so it was only natural that I name my beloved items after characters.

Right now I feel guilty about my MP3 player. It doesn’t have a name and I use it every day. I’ll christen it before the end of the blog post.

How about you guys? Do you name your electronics? What about other inanimate objects? I know everyone names their stuffed animals so I’m not counting those (I have Teddy and Frosty by my side right now).

Which leads me into another question if you do name your electronics, or other items:

Do writers name their items more than non-writers? Is it an innate desire to create living things out of nothing?

I know my mum calls her car Bessie, but aside from that, I don’t know anybody else who names the things around them.

I feel as writers, we probably using things such as our computers more than a lot of other people (probably with the exception of programmers, systems developing etc) as, in the technological age, we mostly type our work straight into a Word document, Google document, Scrivener, yWriter or another similar piece of software. And as we write, we create. We create worlds, stories and characters. And we name those worlds and characters. They become our children, the focus of a lot of our attention as we watch them grow and sculpt them into what we initially hoped they would be. Surely, then, it’s natural to become attached to the very object which is allowing you to make these creations a reality. And therefore, as the chain continues, to want to name that object and care for it as it is caring for the story you’re writing.

It may be viewed as unhealthy to become attached to a computer. Computers grow old, start having problems and eventually need to be replaced. When this happens, it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. When six year old Sandy Claws eventually gives up the ghost, it will be sad day.

So, do you name your electronics? What do you name them? Are they named after characters of favourite books/movies/TV shows or just random names?

If you are a non-writer reading this, do you name your electronics, too?

P.S. As promised, my MP3 played has been christened ‘Lír’ who is the prince from The Last Unicorn. (I choose to continue the theme.)

Posted on September 23, 2012, in None of the Above and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I don’t believe that it is wrong to name your electronics. Historically, men at arms would name their swords or guns. I think that it is a matter of passion. When an object becomes more than just a tool, but a part of ourselves because we use it a great deal, we have a tendency to name the object and give it life. Perhaps you are simply more passionate about your work and how you create it.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo this year. I hope you make the goal!

  2. Well, considering my previous laptop was named “Mini Muse” since it was a netbook and had some awesome artwork on the front, and my current one, which is black and I got it on my 21st, is named “BlackJack,” I’d say it’s perfectly normal.

  3. My laptop is called “Genevieve Kavanagh IV”, for reasons which are entirely too long and boring to go into here. I’ve always given my computers names, but never thought to extend it to smaller bits of electronics.

  4. I have named all of my apple technology (Kindle books can be sent to my app on Tristram or Launcelot!), but I never used to name my Windows machines in the past. I guess my technology now is too attractive to not be properly named!

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