Want to become immortal?

Written By Lingkar Dunia on Wednesday, October 19, 2011 | 2:51 PM

It's easy -- once your name becomes a noun
Or a verb

Or even an adjective.

What do

Henry Shrapnel
Jules Leotard
Robert Bunson
Samuel Maverick
Amelia Bloomer
Lord Cardigan
Earl of Sandwich
Duke of Wellington

have in common?

Easy.  Their names all became nouns.  Samuel Maverick, for instance, was a fellow who refused to brand his cattle.  Amelia Bloomer, the suffragette, promoted loose bloomer pants for women, though she didn't wear them at all often.  That great general of armies, the Duke of Wellington, wore tall boots, with the result that Englishmen (and women) call what we call "gumboots" "wellingtons."  The first Earl of Sandwich toyed with the name "Portsmouth" when he first became a lord, and if he had clung to that idea, two slices of bread with a filling (which one of his descendants designed in a hurry while playing billiards) would have been called a "portsmouth."

Now, that's a scary thought.   Though not as scary as the idea of becoming immortalized by a disease.  Poor Dr. Altzheimer is an example that leaps to mind.

Even Achilles, hero of The Iliad, has been reduced to a tendon.

And then there are verbs inspired by people's names  Charles Boycott did not actually do any boycotting himself (but was boycotted, instead), but gave his name to that popular pursuit.

And finally, there is the Marquis de Sade, who inspired sadism, which is a sadistic way to be remembered.

Listen to a hilarious musical NPR discussion here


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