As I’m sure you are aware by now, the powers that be want to change the name of Piedmont Triad International Airport to Central North Carolina International Airport, and, as we speak, the question of changing the airport’s name is still, well, up in the air.
So far, I count seven people who are in favor of the name change – which, completely non-coincidently, is the exact number of people who serve on the Airport Authority board that oversees PTIA.
Most of the people in the community say this: The airport name doesn’t need changing. Now, this week, in this column, thank goodness, I am not writing about the airport name change because there have already been barrels and barrels of ink used up on that topic. However, what I am writing about this week is somewhat related: I’m writing about those things that, unlike the airport, should definitely have their names changed.
You know, there are plenty of things around here that could use a good name changing. Everyone has been putting all this time and energy into discussions about the airport (which admittedly doesn’t have exactly the greatest name of all time, but also doesn’t really have a completely terrible name either). However, while that discussion rages on, everyone has been letting slide all these names of things around us that have obviously amazingly bad names, ones that certainly do need changing.
I think that sometimes we get used to certain names and we lose sight of how bad they are because after a while the names, no matter how dumb they are, just sound natural to us since we’re using them all the time and because we grew up using them.
Obviously, a lot of things have to be named in society and some of those are likely named on Friday afternoon when everyone wants to get out of the meeting. In Charlotte, for instance, there is a road named, I kid you not, “Street Avenue.” I think that naming session was probably a very short one late on a Friday, and that name probably beat out something like, “Street Avenue Road Boulevard Drive.”
In the 1970s and ’80s there was a major computer corporation called “Wang.” And, whenever the Wang salesman came by – or someone else from Wang visited – everyone was polite, but then, as soon as they left the room, everyone would bust out laughing and shout out, “Don’t they know what it means?”
That company went bankrupt in 1992, and I’m not saying it went belly up because of the name, but I am saying that being named Wang definitely didn’t help matters.
Wang is no longer around but there are plenty of things that need their names changed. So, forget about the airport for now. These are the things that really need a name change …
Climax, Erect and Horneytown, NC. Now, most people know about Climax, NC, but what some people don’t realize is that, not far from Climax, are Erect and Horneytown, NC. We certainly need to address this issue in our area before we start worrying about the airport’s name.
Atlantic and Yadkin Greenway at Cone Blvd. What the what? This isn’t a greenway name, it’s a name for a Monopoly property. I’m pretty sure if you build a hotel on this greenway you get to collect $200 anytime someone visits.
Is it near the Atlantic? No. Is it in Yadkin County? No. Is it at Cone Boulevard – well, OK, yes, but why use the name of a road in the name of a greenway. It’s just weird. They don’t belong together. It is like having a business called “Gold’s Gym and Pie Shop” or something.
If you want to get people out there, you need to give it a better, more naturey name. Like, call it Reindeer Point. Or even Reindeer Pointe with an “e” on the end so it sounds really fancy and sounds like a place everyone should be dying to visit.
Gate City Boulevard. I propose that we rename Gate City Boulevard. I have been thinking a lot about it and I think I have come up with the perfect name. If you look at it on a map, this road goes straight to High Point, which is how I came up with my name. I think we should call it, simply: High Point Road.
The whole idea of “Gate City” sounds like it is a place you pass through on your way to a better, happier and more prosperous place where you would actually want to be. You don’t want to be in Gate City; you want to be in the place that’s on the other side of it.
Jones Sausage Road. This one may be outside of my zone of authority but I’m going to include it here anyway. Just about anyone who drives to or from Research Triangle Park has to see Jones Sausage Road. It doesn’t make the area exactly sound like the computer and biotech center of the Southeast. People who just took a job at Research Triangle Park who are driving there for the first time are looking at the directions on their phone and saying, “The InfinityX Gene-splitting Bio-tech Corp. facility is right up here right after we pass… uh, Jones Sausage Road?”
Not exactly a confidence building name.
Guilford County Economic Development Alliance Business Advisory Council (GCEDABAC). I’m sorry but this name is simply too long. It sounds like what you would get if you had an explosion in an economic development word factory. It uses way too many of the trendy economic development words. I mean if we’re really going to go down this road, then why stop there? Why not make it even more important sounding by calling it the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance Business Advisory Council Forward Partnership Collective Assembly Cooperative Committee Association Board Commission.
Piedmont Triad Partnership. The airport people said that the airport is changing its name because “Piedmont Triad” is unknown to the rest of the world, and they also say the push for the airport name change came largely from those who run the Piedmont Triad Partnership. So, if the airport changes its name because the Piedmont Triad Partnership told it that “Piedmont Triad” was a bad name for economic development, then doesn’t the Piedmont Triad Partnership almost have to change its name? Unless I’m missing something. I keep calling the Partnership to see if they are going to do this but they won’t call back.
Wyndham Championship. This is a great event sponsored by a very fine company, but I think it’s clearly time that we all get together and simply admit that the name is completely unspellable. A very professional copyeditor checks behind me on spelling but I’ll bet she has no idea how the word is spelled either. No one can spell it. I feel certain that, at the golf tournament itself, the name is misspelled a thousand different ways on the course signs, but no one ever notices because no one knows how it should be spelled. Frankly, I’m not even sure there is any one single accepted spelling. Anyway, even if there is, if we rename the golf tournament we can make it something much more exciting like The Sedgefield Showdown or something like that. You know, we can give it a name with some flair.
The Whirlies. I graduated from Grimsley and spent three years of my life there and I still don’t know what a Whirlie is. I think it’s some sort of tornado, but who knows?
When people came up with naming Grimsley students the “Whirlies” they simply hadn’t thought it through. And don’t get me started on how hard it is to make a tornado costume for your mascot. Trust me, it’s hard.
So Whirlie needs to go. I don’t like the evil Page Pirates one bit and when they play football I always pull for the other team still after all these years, but I will give Page one thing: No one has to ask 60 times a day what a ‘pirate’ is.
Speaking of which, after I graduated from Grimsley, I went on to become a Duke Blue Devil. The Blue Devils could use a name change. Blue Devil? What is that? Do you think I liked going straight from being a Whirlie to being a Blue Devil. No, I did not. One time at a Duke game, the students were singing “Devil with a Blue Dress on.” And a fan from UNC was like, “Explain to me again why you are all singing joyfully about a satanic transvestite figure?
And I have to admit that struck me as a pretty good question.
Natatoriums. Talk about something that really needs a name change – natatoriums really need one. Now, listen, I have no idea what a natatorium is. But I do know that, a while back, Greensboro apparently needed a new natatorium in downtown but voters wouldn’t approve money for one because it is something no one has ever heard of. I hear natatoriums are very nice whatever they are, but if that is in fact the case, they need to change their name so people will vote to pay for one downtown.
The Cardinal. To me, this sounds more like a name for a type of bird than a subdivision that planes fly over.
International Civil Rights Center & Museum. This is a wonderful museum, but it’s “international” like the airport is “international.” (Read: Not really international). I may start calling myself Scott Yost International since it seems to be all the rage. I hope you are enjoying this issue of the International Rhino Times. The next thing you know people will be slapping an “international” label on things like pancake houses.
As you can clearly see, on the naming front we in this area have plenty of things to worry about before we get to Piedmont Triad International Airport. Let’s get our priorities right people. It doesn’t matter if visitors fly into the best named airport in the world if they are flying here because they have business in Horneytown.
While I agree the Greenway name is unwieldy it recognizes history, the Atlantic & Yadkin Railway and one of its biggest customers, Cone Mills.
A&Y Greenway would be trendy way to remove specifics and still respect history.