A Surfeit of Archies


Ask any author. Naming characters is a solemn task. Some of us agonize for hours. Days. Consider and cast away dozens of names till we are satisfied.
Sometimes the name drops from the sky and flutters down onto the shoulders of our protagonist or antagonist or bit player and it is JUST RIGHT.

So when an ex-punk rocker showed up in the book I’m writing, I needed a name that would suit his pierced, tattooed, working class Brit persona. It came to me out of the blue.




No, this is not my Archie.


Archie Bunker

This isn’t my Archie either

The more I wrote about my Archie the more I liked him. His name buried itself into his psyche and mine and now whenever I write—or rewrite—a scene with this particular character, he is the personification of all things Archie. The name has shaped the man.

Well, too bad. I’m going to have to perform major surgery and remove “Archie” from Archie and give him a new name. It is all the fault of a 7 pound infant born in England.

I blame his parents. Prince Harry and Meghan, in spite of hundreds and hundreds of names available, chose my punk-rocker’s name and that has changed everything.

Don’t try to convince me to keep the name. I have my pride. Even though my Archie was named before the couple even got married, anyone reading the book (if it gets published. Please let it get published) will be reading it AFTER the world has fawned all over that other Archie. And will assume I got my name from little Mr. Popularity.

Am I bitter? You betcha. This has happened to me before. In my first book, my wonderful hero was originally named Tubal. After Tubal in the Bible. My publisher thought it was after tubal—a woman’s surgical procedure. (Note: my Tubal’s Biblical namesake was around thousands of years before the first woman had her tubes tied.)

I could see her point, though, and after agonizing and searching Scripture I came up with “Ezra.” But he will always remain Tubal in my heart.

So anyway. My Archie needs a new name. A great sort of Cockney or maybe Scots working-class kind of name. It has to be just right for him. He isn’t any happier than I am about this and we are both trying not to hold it against that newborn living in Frogmore Cottage across the pond. We assume him to be unaware that he just stripped my Archie of his name. Nay. His whole identity. Nothing suits my Archie as well as Archie.

So blessings to Baby Archie and his royal family. Maybe I will get literary vengeance if, when he hits 16, he wants to look like MY Archie.



Top Image by Mihai Surdu from Pixabay



Mr. Walter Hunt would not approve. His once serviceable safety pin today is about as useless as a privacy setting on Facebook.

Wait just a minute! you say. What is the Tuesday Prude doing talking about sewing notions? Doesn’t the Prude only hold opinions on all things moral and ethical? And lapses in etiquette and grammar?

No. That is a fallacy. Prude disapproval goes far beyond the moral and civil code. We can find situations everywhere that need to be addressed and one of them is Shoddy Workmanship.

You may not be familiar with the aforementioned Mr.Walter Hunt, poverty-stricken inventor. He needed to make enough money to pay off a $15 debt. But what to invent? Inspiration was born of pain. Straight pins—the bane of the 19th century—poked holes in the epidermis of the general populace and Walter wanted to help. So he invented the safety pin.
Though history doesn’t tell us whether altruism or fear of a shake down by the local loan shark motivated Walter, he came up with a non-poking pin and made enough with his wire creation to pay his obligations.

Back then pins were made of materials with names like BRASS and STEEL. The safety pin Walter created from a piece of twisted wire was sturdy enough to convince some entrepreneur to purchase the patent.

For over a century safety pins continued to poke proudly. One could find safety pins holding up ripped hems, securing notes to kindergarteners’ backs, replacing popped buttons on trousers, removing splinters from fingers and functioning as fish hooks. Many women fondly remember when safety pins were sturdy enough to re-connect women’s foundation garments after a crucial strap snapped.

Back to Walter: if he’d tried to impress anyone with the 21st century piece of flimsiness pictured above (for which the Tuesday Prude paid good money),  his creditors would have broken his kneecaps and fitted him for cement shoes.

Te Tuesday Prude’s safety pin is not sturdy enough to pin a spider web to a snowflake. Instead of steel, it appears to be constructed of dental floss coated with spray paint.
If punk rock trendsetters had tried to shove one of these namby-pamby pins through their ears or noses or navels, an entire body piercing cottage industry would have folded before it had a chance to catch on.

Balloons don’t cower in fear from this pin. They dare each other to do belly flops on it’s stubby little point. The most wimpy of balloons laughs this pin to scorn.

Maybe somewhere a safety pin is doing its job and doing it well: keeping a starlet from a wardrobe malfunction, holding a baby’s diaper securely in place, or acting as a homemade compass in a 3rd grade science class.

But not this safety pin.

And maybe somewhere, Mr. Hunt looks down at this insipid descendent of his great invention and expresses gratitude that he didn’t name it the Walter pin.