What’s in a name? How about the entirety of your manhood, reputation and entire worth as a person and a human being?
If you’re a guy’s guy, you want a name that strikes fear into the heart of every soul who hears it, a name that’s usually accompanied by thunder and lightning, a name that makes grown men cry and small children kick their ass for crying. Unfortunately, some of them have names that strike laughter into the heart of every soul who hears it, a name that’s accompanied by a constant black rain cloud directed over their heads, a name that makes grown men laugh and small children laugh even harder and wet themselves. It’s just good marketing.
Ironically, some of the most badass dudes of all time had names that could cause eunuchs to point and laugh until their high-pitched girl voices could make glass crack.
10. Former NRA President Wayne LaPierre
The late George Carlin asked about this former National Rifle Association president, “What kind of a name for a gun nut is Wayne LaPierre?” and we couldn’t agree more. If you’re going to a head a national lobby whose goal is to push through legislation that allows men to get bigger and longer symbolic phalluses that ejaculate metal and fire, you’d better have a name that doesn’t make people think of tea parties and art galleries when they call you to testify before a Senate Subcommittee. Your name should reflect who you are and what you believe. Maybe the NRA wouldn’t have had to replace him with Charlton Heston if Wayne had just changed his name to Dick Firestick. He also could have gotten a job as a 70’s porn star.
9. Eldrick Woods, better known as “Tiger Woods”
The guru of the greens has done something no one in the history of professional golfing has every done: made golf watchable. That would have been hard to do if he stuck with a name that’s one letter away from sounding like bad Spanish for “the penis.” There’s no contest here. If your wife gave birth to your first born son and gave you a choice between the name “Eldrick” and “Tiger,” you’d name the little tyke “Tiger” and have it tattooed to your forehead for all of the world to see and envy.
8. Extreme Makeover host Ty Pennington
There’s nothing guys like to do more than build the biggest thing they can with their bare hands, so they can marvel at their creation, proudly show off their shelter building prowess and then fulfill their destruction lust by tearing it down again with the same pair of meat hooks that brought it to life. A skilled carpenter who can build sturdy, sound structures that can withstand the awesome force of nature, the Earth and God should have a name that evokes such awesome power like Chuck Rock or Biff Wood. Ty Pennington sounds like the guy who you hire to pick out the curtains for your home once you’re done building it.
7. Ashley “Ash” Williams from Evil Dead
You’ve got a chainsaw attached to your arm where your hand once stood. You’ve got a sawed-off shotgun sitting in a holster that’s strapped across your back. You’ve got a wave of dead zombies left behind you in your path including a badass evil twin of yourself who’s more powerful than you in every conceivable way. You’d think that guy was the manliest man ever to be conceived until he hands you his business card with the name “Ashley” on it. That ain’t “groovy. “
6. Minnesota Vikings quarterback Fran Tarkenton
This nine-time Pro Bowl selection has the kind of life every little boy can only dream about: a lifetime star athlete who’s probably had his choice of teams, opportunities and women for most of his life. He’s done so well that he doesn’t even have to change his girl first name to feed his own ego. It takes a lot of guts to not even add a small little “k” to the end of it and save yourself years of torment and humiliation by guys who would make fun of you in high school and go on to be Roto-Rooter plumbers, Dairy Queen janitors and good old American prisoners while you’re leading your team to their third Super Bowl.
5. Marion Morrison, better known as “John Wayne”
We can’t think of anyone who would call “The Duke” by his real first name because he could kick any man’s ass and that includes the condition he’s in right now. It’s not known how he got such a wimpy girl’s name, but it leads to an interesting side note about his nickname. Apparently, he got sick of being called “Marion” along with a probably about a billion other names by schoolyard kids who feed on childhood pain and suffering like they were Alpha Bits. A local fireman in his hometown of Glendale, Calif. called him “Little Duke” because he never went anywhere without his dog named “Duke.” So rather than stick with Marion for the rest of his days, the Duke named himself “Duke.” The schoolyard kids probably still made fun of him since “Duke” is the first syllable in “Dookie.”
4. Tracy Lauren Marrow, better known as “Ice-T”
One of the West Coast scene’s best and most well known rappers has a name that strikes fear into the hearts of the East Coasters. His real name, however, strikes laughter into the mouths and bellies of just about anyone who still has a pulse. If Dan Quayle really wanted to people to stop buying Ice-T’s album back in the 90s, all he had to do was tell the world his real name and sales would have plummeted. Of course, Quayle couldn’t string together more than four words in a coherent sentence, so the chances of that happening were slim and none anyway.
3. Anakin Skywalker, better known as Darth Vader
You have an entire army at your disposal. You live in a homemade planet. You can choke people with your mind…and your real name sounds like the guy who collects tickets for the bead tent at Bonnaroo? We all know he’s Darth Vader, but we didn’t know that until the prequels came out and now the name has been burned into our brains with a cattle iron, which is exactly the physical feeling we experienced when we watched them.
2. Terry Gene Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan
Let me hear ya brother, who thinks Terry is a good name for a tough guy? Yeah, that’s what we thought. When we hear the name Terry, the last thing we think of is a guy who can body slam 7-foot tall muscleheaded freaks, crack skulls with their bare hands and turn grown men into their own personal Stretch Armstrong. The first thing we think of is a wimpy florist who utters a girly groan when he tries to bend a rose stem to fit it in a lovely “I Heart You” bouquet.
Don’t let the eye glitter and assless pants fool you. He might look like a Britney Spears backup dancer, but he’s slept with more famous and beautiful women than you’ll ever meet, he can play a guitar that can melt your face off and he can kick Charlie Murphy’s ass in basketball. None of these things, however, can redeem him from a myriad of weird and dumb names that make us question if the man really is one. He’s changed his names dozens of times when he provides input on other artists’ records with fluffy sounding titles like Austra Chanel, Alexander Nevermind and Gemini, which if you read the liner notes for the Batman soundtrack makes it sound like a model of Chevrolet car produced the music for the film. Then in 1993, Prince, who’s real name is Prince Rogers Nelson which is just as wimpy sounding as his fake names, appeared in public and announced he was changing his name to an unpronounceable “love symbol” because of a dispute over naming rights with Warner Bros. The change prompted people to call him “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.” We just called him “The Artist Formerly Known as Male.”
Danny Gallagher is a writer, humorist, reporter and assless pants inspector #5 living in Texas. His website is DannyGallagher.net.