Monday, August 10, 2009

That deep and inscrutable singular name

One of the things that people do while thru-hiking the AT is adopt a trail name--your alternate name, if you will (not unlike the multiple names that each of T.S. Eliot's cats meditate on while in their various cat trances). These names usually reflect the person's personality or appearance in some way, or refer to an inside joke they share with their friends. J.'s was "Argon," a reference to the inert gas that doesn't react to much of anything at all. For a while on the trail, he hiked with another guy who also had a red beard. They were known as the "Hiking Vikings."

People sometimes will name the pets they bring along with them. One unforgetable name is "Worthless Bert, the Emergency Stew," and I pity the poor dog that got this name, even though I crack up laughing every time I think about it. This past weekend on the trail, J. and I saw a few dogs that warranted this name. One of them was a bichon frise that had to be carried.

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