CRIS COHEN, is staff humor columnist for Renaissance Magazine. His work is also published weekly in three California newspapers and four online humor magazines
What's in a Name?
Recently my wife, Michele, began introducing me to the world of exotic hair treatments, which are named by people who drink the stuff right out of the bottle. For instance the other day Michele showed me a hair treatment named "Placenta," which is known for having rich moisturizers and one of the most disgusting names ever created for a product that you put in your hair.
Hair treatment manufacturers give their products names like that to make you think that their product contains only natural, life-giving ingredients. Unfortunately most people see a name like that and think that their next shower will be the most painful experience of their lives, a shower that lasts for 37 hours and involves their husbands standing over by the towel rack, yelling the word "push." After all, most people hear the word "placenta" and they immediately think of a vital substance involved in childbirth. Or the new car from Ford. One of the two.
This is because automakers also like to choose really creative names for their products -- creative names that could only come from a vast knowledge of engineering and prolonged exposure to paint thinner. The first rule of car naming is to stick an "a" on the end of normal English words. This way you'll come up with really catchy titles, like the "Deodoranta -- the car that leaves a chalky residue." Car people feel that this makes a car seem exotic and luxurious, much like that furniture that's covered in animal hair. I'm referring to that white animal hair that they put on chairs so that when you first see it you think that someone ran over a big yak and then placed it in their living room.
To the car people the letter "a" is magical. It brings class to any word. Unfortunately it's only a matter of time before they start running out of words and terms to add the letter "a" onto. Thus we're not far away from seeing a car roll off the line called the "Uncomfortable Bloating Feelinga." It will make full use of the lap portion of the seatbelt, which was invented solely for the purpose of applying pressure to your bladder region.
But apparently the hair care companies are looking to capture the title of "Most Names Created By People Who Were Severely Intoxicated." And it looks like the hair care companies have a good chance now that they are featuring a product simply entitled "Cholesterol." You can be sure that name came out of an intense discussion session.
CORPORATE GUY #1: We need a name that will make people want to throw heaping mounds of our product on their heads.
CORPORATE GUY #2: How about "Donkey Spit"?
Eventually they came up with "Cholesterol." A close second was "Tunafish That's Gone Bad." According to newscasters who don't consider it a complete day unless they've scared at least one viewer into having a heart attack, cholesterol is one of the most lethal substances on the planet. It can kill a man from 500 feet away and, if you believe everything the news people tell you, it can also bring down large aircraft.
Thus the hair treatment company thought this would be a great name for their product. It's wholesome, it's a name that everyone is familiar with and it should only be applied to your hair while wearing gloves lined with lead. The container also warns that you should never look directly at the hair treatment.
In response to this product, another company came out with a hair treatment based upon the health trend. It's called "Hair Salad" and it comes with Ranch dressing on the side. It's the hair treatment that will get you noticed.
MAN #1: Pretty big dandruff you got there, Tom.
MAN #2: Actually they're croutons.
Of course, they only chose the name "Hair Salad" because "Donkey Spit" was already taken.
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