Last names


I was in Boston doing some research these past two days. Stayed with Liz Monaghan and Ed Thompson, who are getting married in a few months.

I asked Liz today whether she was planning on changing her name. She said that indeed she was. I consider Monaghan-for-Thompson to be a pretty even trade—the Larry Johnson for Anthony Mason of name swaps. Alas, most are significantly more one-sided. My wife was Catherine Guggenheimer. I consider Pearlman—while far from the Thompson of names—a huge upgrade. My mom, once Joan Herz, now Joan Pearlman, made enormous gains. Not since 1967 has anyone asked about her Uncle Dick. My friend Laura Fasbach, also a journalist, married a Donovan. That’s a brilliant swap—Delino for Pedro-esque.

But, really, one must be careful. I would say my friend with the best pre-marriage last name was Rebecca Tollen, a reporter based out of San Francisco. For my ears, Tollen is perfect—smooth, easily spoken and spelled, not overly common, but not weird, doesn’t rhyme with any body parts. However, a few years ago Rebecca married. Her husband is Roberto Nhuch. He’s a great guy—cool, Brazilian. I’m sure, in Portuguese. ‘Nhuch’ means “Wonderful person with wings of gold.” But it ain’t Tollen—not even close. (That said, it can be worse. I have a second cousin. His name is Arthur. His last name is Baer. His wife’s first name is Benji. I don’t know her maiden name, but she goes by Benji Baer.

Hey, Boo Boo …