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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ah...Posterity

There's a kind of unspoken hierarchy for which names enter posterity. At the top of mine are those whose birthdays become holidays - King, Lincoln, Washington, Columbus. It's easy to argue which honor is greater after that. To me, a city (Madison, Jackson, Jefferson City) seems logical for the #2 spot. But, Lenin & Stalin got demoted from there in a fate more historically embarrassing than the two for one special Lincoln & Washington now endure sharing Presidents Day. So, it's arguable that someone's name becoming part of an often-used word (e.g. bowdlerize) deserves #2. Given the Lincoln/Washington bit, maybe #1.  

From there it's an open field. My arbitrary placement in the posterity sweepstakes after holidays, cities, and names becoming words goes something like this - airports, universities/schools, streets, buildings, statues. What would you add? Because significant philanthropy often confers posterity, including things like wings of hospitals, rooms in museums, etc. makes sense for ranking #9. Then? The current fad marking names on public benches comes to mind; could be a stretch. Near the bottom? Sandwiches? But with most of those names shifting when a delicatessen changes hands, we've probably left posterity-land at this point.

Which brings me to the Bradley Beach Theater. When next you visit the men's room in this quaint relic from the mid-20th century, try to think of anything except the human drive for posterity when standing at the urinal. If you're a woman, wait until the coast is clear, sneak in and take a look at the strategically placed plaque. Oh, if only I'd had the imagination to make this up. In a future post, I plan on naming a holiday after this person; it's the least I can do. First, back to the theater to record the name.      

4 comments:

  1. prefer infamy to posterity

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  2. It's impressive to have a park named after you, such as Schenley Park (the fourth largest urban park in the USA) in Pittsburgh.

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  4. FUNNY! My vote is for people whose names become plant names, like Clematis x jackmanii...who was that Jackman guy you may wonder? George Jackman, 19th C plantsman and clematis specialist. FYI. And of course, George was smart enough to keep his wife happy, therefore Clematis x jackmanii "Mrs George Jackman"

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