It's Like I Shot My Dog

I just posted Eve on Craigslist. I did consider hanging on to her, but I really have no use for two bikes so there’s no sense keeping her in the garage when I should be picking up the Shadow within the next couple days.

People often ask me why I gave her a name. They say there is magic in naming things, but in this case it’s a bit simpler than that: I did it for safety. Giving the bike a name gives her a personality. Thinking of her in that context, I’m going to take better care of her, and thus will drive a bit safer so I don’t wreck her. Not wrecking her means I don’t wreck myself. See? Simple.

It works the same way with animals. If most people see a random dog wandering the street, they remain nervous or scared. If they later find out it’s the neighbor’s dog Fido, it becomes a different story. People will kill mice and rats in their house, but if it’s their pet rat Richie, he’s a cute little member of the family. If Shamu wasn’t Shamu, he’d be just another killer whale. Get it?

We don’t just name these things, we anthropomorphize them. The real power is in the personality, not in the noun. We make objects and animals more human, more like us. As a result, we develop attachments.

I know damn well Eve’s not a human being, but she’s got a personality now. As dumb as it sounds, I felt a little bummed as I took her pictures for the ad. Sure, I’ll take the cash and hand over her keys, but I don’t have to like it!

And that, my friends, is the downside to anthropomorphization.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

No comments

  1. Phil Hodgson says:

    Nice bike, Mike. Alas, I bought myself a Suzuki SV650 a couple of months ago and I have no room for two. But good luck anyway !

  2. JohnU says:

    Congrats on the Shadow!

    I’ve yet to ride any, myself, but I will…

    • Mike says:

      Take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation Rider Course. In Illinois, it only cost $20 for the 20-hour course. Best $20.00 I ever spent. Not only do they teach you how to operate the machine, they teach you how several safety tips and strategies and show you a lot of things that you’d probably never hear when learning on your own or from a friend.

  3. JohnU says:

    Actually, I’ve got friends who ride, and wouldn’t let me *not* take the course, so no worries there. It’s still gonna be some time, though…I’m in no position to buy anything right now.

    • Mike says:

      Yeah, there’s always that problem. I took the course in ’07, but didn’t buy a bike ’til ’08. I figured I’d get the course done so I’d have my license when I was able to buy a bike. Scout used on Craigslist and you can probably get a good deal.

  4. Phil Hodgson says:

    I agree on the MSF. One of the best things I ever did – and a lot of fun as well. I’m going to do the advanced rider one next year.

  5. […] The name wasn’t on my list of candidates. Instead, like every good name, it just popped into my head and it clicked. (For those of you who missed why a name is important, read this.) […]

  6. […] In fact, somebody put one together the next town over. I thought about checking it out and taking some pictures but I had to be out of town that day. Too bad, as it might have been fun to see. I would have rolled through the line if only to talk about it, though again it’s not something I put much stock in (my own superstition is naming my bike). […]