Monday, June 17, 2013

The piece that I never submitted to MungBeing Magazine

When Mark Givens announced that the theme for issue 50 of MungBeing Magazine was "Names," I drafted a couple of written pieces having to do with names, and then promptly forgot about them and never submitted them. When issue 50 was actually released, I had even forgotten about the items on which I had worked.

Until Saturday, when I ran across an email to myself dated May 2.

I really need to check my empoprises gmail account more often. (And I had even starred the thing.)

Well, I need to use everything up at some point, so I figured that I'd post one of the items here. (I never really worked on the second item, and all that I have there is some material that someone else wrote about the name letter effect. You can read that material at

So, without further ado, here is "Styx and Stones."

Wait, I take that back - here's one further ado. Whenever I write something for MungBeing, I try to make some type of reference to every other piece that I have contributed to MungBeing. This explains, for example, the reference to Martin Van Buren.

OK, NOW without further ado...

If you were to run into Smiley on the street – and he was often on the street – you would just think of him as a ne’er-do-well who blurted out opinions – the shorter the better. But those who knew him better realized that he had, back in the day, been a marketing genius who was responsible for shaping much of the popular culture of the Western world.

He received his nickname “Smiley” when he spent several years in London in the early 1960s – a city where, like all other cities, he had a knack for being in the right place at the right time.

One night he was sitting in a small club and began talking to the bass player in the club’s band.

“What’s your band’s name?” asked Smiley.

“The Cliftons,” responded the bassist without real conviction. He was concentrating on the girls who were sitting a few tables away.

“And what’s YOUR name?” asked Smiley, not noticing that the bassist was distracted.

“Perks” was the response.

“That’s a stupid name,” said Smiley, who walked out. Perks then moved to the table with the girls, but Smiley’s comment obviously remained lodged in his mind.

Several years later, Smiley had drifted back to the United States and found himself at a parish hall in suburban Chicago, listening to another small band argue over its name. The band had just signed to the small label Wooden Nickel Records, and had decided that the current name, TW4, just wouldn’t cut it for successful recording artists like themselves.

One of the band members piped up. “Hey, why don’t we call ourselves Schlock?”

Smiley, unbidden, piped up from his chair. “That’s a stupid name!” he yelled.

The band members reluctantly agreed and sat in thought until another tossed in a suggestion. “Martin Van Buren?”

“Nah,” said Smiley, piping up again. “They’ll think that the lead singer is named Martin Van Buren. Too confusing.”

“I know! I know!” said another band member. “Mister Roboto!”

Smiley stared at him, shaking his head.

The first band member, angered by the interjections of this stranger, spoke up anyway. “How about Desperation Squad?”

“Now that’s the most idiotic name I’ve heard yet!” shouted Smiley. “Your band is dead in the water! I’m going back over the river and getting as far away from you as possible!”

Smiley was surprised a few years later when the band became extremely famous.
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