Thursday, August 18, 2005

What's in a name?

So far, the Beast has resisted finding its name for almost two years. At one point, it seemed like "Vinifer" ('wine-bearer') was a likely candidate, as the hardcases were always getting loaded down with bottles of wine from nearby wineries (Q: How do you get $100 worth of wine on a motorcycle? A: Buy better wine. Q: How do you avoid the horror of forgetting a corkscrew? A: Drink champagne.) but after being dry for months, that seems irrelevant, and frankly, it was a kinda dumb name to begin with.

My old bike, on the other hand, seemed to suggest its own name early on in our history.

As T.S. Elliot suggested in his trifling afterthought of a book that became a monstrosity of a Broadway show about 'Cats' or something, cats have several names—the names we give them, the names they use among themselves, and their secret name. Motorcycles are the same way. In fact, motorcycles are just like cats except for the places where they are different.

My old bike is a fairly rare and obscure 1983 BMW R80ST, of which fewer than 2,000 were sold in the United States. It was red, then faded to pink, then became rattlecan black. It is rough around the edges, has had many modifications done to it, shows its age, but it is a fine example of why people like old BMWs. It is the two-wheeled equivalent to a little black dress: classic, hard to improve upon and appropriate for any occasion. It's name is "Campaigner," and we have logged upwards of 100,000 miles together.

So, I'm open to suggestions for a name for the Beast. Something other than Vinifer. Or Boanerges. Or anything Biblical. Or from Tolkien. Anglo-Saxon is preferable to Latin. Winner of the "Name the Beast" contest gets, um, a ride or something. I reserve the right to reject anything I think is dumb.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

call it a "motorcycle".