A Horse with No Name

A Horse Named Otto

I don’t know if you are familiar with the pop rock group America and one of their biggest hits, “A Horse with No Name.” The chorus goes,

          I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name:

          It felt good to be out of the rain

          In the desert, you can’t remember your name

          ‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no fame.

I have several questions about this: what in the world is anyone doing in a desert on a horse, named or no? And how much rain would you have to endure to relish being in a place where daytime temperatures reach upwards of 120 degree Fahrenheit with little water in sight? Do the extreme temperatures cause you to forget your name and why should you need fame to remember who you are? I don’t know the answers to these questions. I was hoping you would, so talk to me after we’re done and enlighten me as to these mysteries.

Our family always thinks of a young woman named Chrissie, an intelligent young woman who became a lawyer. She took piano with Becky when her family lived here. One day I was taking her to her piano lesson, I think, and I had the car radio tuned to a ‘70’s and 80’s hits station and Chrissie listened for a while and asked, “Mr. V, is this the ‘Horse with No Name’ station?” And it was. This question has become part of our family lore, used when any kind of soft rock is being played anywhere. Chrissie later took guitar lessons and told me that one of the first songs they learned was—you guessed it—“A Horse with No Name.”

On a somewhat more serious note, our names are important to us. They give us an identity and may be a source of pride or aggravation depending on what they are and who we are. Parents agonize over what to name their babies and sometimes they don’t choose too wisely. One study found that a bad first name can not only ruin your self-esteem, but it may actually make you lonelier — and dumber. And no one wants that.

Some actual names that might cause problems for a hapless girl are Audi, Chia, Hennessy, Merci, Monet, Nixon, Zeek, and Zuly. For boys, the names are Anthem, Denim, Dior, Hershey, Piers, Simba, Vino, Walden, and Zeppelin. Led or not, I don’t know.

If you find yourself in the desert, I hope you have a horse, even if it doesn’t have a name, and I also hope your name isn’t one that causes problems, and most of all, I hope that  you can remember your name. Good luck.

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