It’s a palindrome
There are pivotal moments, when a simple comment or action changes everything.
Ten years ago, I inadvertently created one of these. We were having a recruiting meeting at Twin Oaks and Kate said,
We should contact sociology professors at nearby colleges and get them to pay us for coming in and speaking to their classes.
I replied, “Well, that is not happening.” And with this single comment (and Kate’s tenacity), I insured that exactly this would happen and I would be completely wrong.
The same thing happened recently at an Acorn naming party. One sentence changed the course of our collective history.
Acorn has naming parties. We don’t name cars, or most buildings, like Twin Oaks does. But when someone shows up with the same first name as someone else, we typically have a naming party.
So it was with visitor Mike. A talented musician and soft spoken young man, he was clearly not to be confused with member Mike. For a while, without much reason we called the visitor “Mike the Interloper.”
Sean facilitated Mike’s naming party, which was lively and entertaining. A very long list of names was considered and Mike was open to a large number of possibilities. It is considered good form to allow the focus person of the naming party to eliminate names they are sure they will not take. Mike eliminated very few.
When there were about 3 names left Sean opened the floor to impassioned speeches. A few not especially inspiring speeches were made, and then Port very quietly said,
Taco Cat is a palindrome.
And I watch the tide in the room shift. Palindromes (words or phrases that have the same letters ignoring spaces going forwards as going backwards) are cool. If Mike the Interloper could have a palindrome name, we should take it.
What I did not know until Abigail pointed it out to me later is that both “taco” and “cat” are very often suggestions by OK Cupid for new user names for people who are trying to choose a user name, but someone else already has that name.
Foolishly, I did not believe Abigail at first so we went into OK Cupid and tried to create a profile for “memeticist” which is the handle I already use. Sure enough, OKC suggested “Memeticist the Cat” and “Memeticist Taco”.
So apparently putting a bunch of clever humans in a room looking for an original name, using a strange selection technique, can mimic the automatic name generation software for a free online dating site.