Part VIII - an open letter to William John Swainson

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Dear Mr Swainson,

I write to you more in sorrow than anger as it has come to my attention that when naming one of my ancestors in 1827 you were perhaps a little hasty in applying a familial monicker. This has lead to many uncomfortable moments through the family history, for which I feel I must take issue.

Although I am sure that your intentions were well meant, and I understand that English is littered with homonyms, there are words that generally bring only one image to one's mind, and your choice is one of these unfortunate instances.

Yes, I accept that the Old English origins may have allusions to the morning star (which would have been much more apposite) and it can literally mean ‘light-bearing’ (this also would have been much more preferable) but why oh why oh why did you have to name him Lucifer’s Hummingbird? Lucifer?

Could you not have forseen the damage this would do? How would you like it if you went through childhood with the nickname of 'el diablo' or 'archfiend'. Can you imagine the distress? We would have been quite happy being named like your thrush, or your toucan or the warbler or the bloody hawk, but no! You named us after the Devil. It's not like we look like members of the Satanic horde do we, we're bloody Hummingbirds! We are pretty and sparkly and quite un-satan like.

Yeah nice one. Really well done. Cheers.

Yours in metaphorical hell,

Calothorax Lucifer


Rob Faint said...

Bugger !!!
I had a smart answer that related it to the lucifer match but it wasn't invented until 2 years later.

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