The Best of Andy Rooney

There are names of people and places that everyone is familiar with, and most of them have something special about them. "George Washington," "Abraham Lincoln," "Franklin Delano Roosevelt," "Hillary Clinton" and, of course, "Barack Obama," are all special names of people. We don't confuse them with anyone else. Their names are distinctive. There are also people with distinctive names whom we associate with evil and hate. We despised "Adolf Hitler" and "Mussolini." I don't know how they acquired such power in Germany and Italy, both civilized countries. It's enough to make you worry.

Whether we've ever visited them or not, we're all familiar with cities like Hollywood, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco, Denver and Dallas.

It's unfair, I suppose, but the name sometimes affects our attitude toward a place or a person. I've never been to Chattanooga but I like it because I like its name. I'm neutral about "Los Angeles." Twenty times a year, I drive through towns with names I like: "Castleton," "Hudson," "Kinderhook," "Saratoga," "Ballston Spa," "Glens Falls," "Hamilton," "Utica," "Altamont," "New Canaan."

It's unfair to the places that have them, but there are names of cities I don't like the sound of, so I don't like the cities: "Fayetteville," "Schenectady," "Ithaca," "Detroit," "Pensacola," "Montgomery," "Potsdam." A little prejudice is satisfying to have. I don't often visit cities if I don't like their names. So sue me; I'm strange that way.

I've been trying to remember other cities that have unpleasing names, but I'm not going to list them all because I don't want people to get mad at me.

Good-sounding names are not necessarily associated with good towns, of course. I have a home in a place in New York State with a terrible-sounding name, but I make an exception because I like both the town and its inhabitants very much. Unfortunately, my town is often linked with a town I don't care for located 35 miles away with a similar name: "Rensselaer." I don't know how that happened.

When I was young, a man named Al Smith ran for President. He was a good guy and a good politician. Unfortunately, he lost the election to someone who wasn't much of anything in my mind but had a better-sounding and more commanding name: Herbert Hoover. It was too bad because Al Smith might have been a good President. Frankly, though, some Americans would never vote for any politician named "Smith." I don't think "Smith" sounds like a commanding name for a President, a business tycoon, a military bigwig, or a movie star, either.

In the past, movie studios would certainly change the name of any actor or actress under contract who had a name they didn't like.

Don't write to me if you disagree, or you hate the name Rooney.

The Best of Andy Rooney - Humor & Satire Classics

Humor & Funny Stories - Familiar Names of People and Places | Andy Rooney

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