Tag Archive for anthropomorphization

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.