Don’t visit the mall without one

2008-05-30 00:00

A few weeks ago our family was travelling in the car to the mall when my son Thomas (12) announced that he thought we should all have “street” names. A bit taken aback, I asked him what he meant by “street” names.

But Thomas had hooked into something. Shakespeare was right when he observed that a rose by any other name would still be a rose, but different names can alter perception, and as we all know perception is often reality. Gangsters have long understood this. How many Mafia movies have been made with either (or both!) a Vinnie or Paulie in them? Not only is this not accidental, in gangster circles name modification is often a vocational necessity. Think about it. You hear that two guys called Vincent and Paul may be paying you a visit and you may be forgiven for thinking that they were altar boys out raising money for the local parish priest. If Vinnie and Paulie were planning to drop in, on the other hand, you would probably make sure that the protection money you owe them is ready and waiting in a nice white envelope.

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