Tuesday, April 17, 2018

2018 Name of the Year: The Elite Eight

An elephant is sitting on your chest. You can barely breathe. 911. EMS. Stretcher, aspirin, nitroglycerin, oxygen mask. Stickers all over your chest. EKG. Screaming ambulance. A harried doctor approaches. You might be having a heart attack. We need to stick a wire into your heart.

Dr. Prospero Gogo,” he says. “Please consent for catheterization.” 

Another pill. Sleep. You wake under a warm blanket, groggy but pain free. Good news: You’re alive. Bad news: You need a bypass. A coiffed man in a long white coat strides into your fluorescent room. 

“Hi, I’m Dr. Loki Skylizard,” he says, “and I will be operating on your heart.”

Across the country, NOTY nominees are keeping America healthy. Dr. Loki Skylizard (NOTY 2014) is a cardiothoracic surgeon who changed his name as a child and stuck with it. Dr. Prospero Gogo (2017) is a cardiologist in Vermont. If Florida is your home, Dr. SkyHawk Fadigan (2013) might do your next pap smear. Lyme disease got you down in New Jersey? Paging infectious disease specialist Dr. Jihad Slim (1999).

As E.R. took off in the 1990s, so did physician NOTY nominees. Dr. Slim was joined by New York City pediatrician Dr. Barney Softness and then Brooklyn dentist Dr. Constant Jose. This decade has brought a rush of white coats: Dr. Speedy Nutz, Dr. Festus Dada, 2011 NOTY winner Dr. Taco BM Monster, Dr. Suparman Marzuki, Dr. Electron Kebebew, and this year’s No. 1 seed in the Chrochtangle Regional, Dr. Narwhals Mating.

The vivid imagery of Dr. Mating’s name—horny horned whales, the unicorns of the sea, copulating freely—contrasts his obscure origin. Narwhals Mating was first listed as a member of the Hennepin County (Minn.) Medical Society in 2000, when he graduated from University of Minnesota’s medical school. After a family-medicine residency in Wisconsin, Dr. Mating moved to California’s central valley, where he practices now.

This year wasn’t our first Narwhals sighting. A reader submitted his name in 2011, during a period of NOTY hiatus. When we did not respond, they wrote again, concerned that the good doctor was lost in a deluge of email. They weren’t wrong; the High Committee never considered his name. He was lost in the shuffle again in 2016. Finally, this year, Mating surfaced.

Your author, Steel, is the High Committee’s resident physician. He called Dr. Mating’s office for a peer-to-peer discussion of his onomastic origin. The doctor was out. But a public records search yielded news that Dr. Narwhals Mating used to be Raymond Rex Spisak.

Shudders? Horrors? Petitions for his removal? Nah. A legal name change is a legal name change. Precedent was established in the 1980s, when Birdie Africa and his family members (who were in involved in a crazy bombing by Philadelphia police) were welcomed to the ballot. Then came one Crescent Dragonwagon, the Hall of Name member who changed her name at age 16.  

So far, Dr. Mating has successfully operated on the 16, 9 and 4 seeds in the Chrotchtangle—Clinton Bacon, Mahogany Loggins, and Beau Titsworth. Of the five docs in the original field of 64, he is the last one standing. Will he slice open Gandalf Hernandez like his previous opponents? Or will the doctor be forced to hang up his stethoscope? Say ahhhh, and vote in all four Elite Eight match-ups below.

Thanks again to Evan Gregory for the updated bracket.



#1 Salami Blessing vs. #2 Jimbob Ghostkeeper


#1 Makenlove Petit-Fard vs. #2 Rev. Dongo Pewee


#9 Delicious Peters vs. #3 Quindarious Gooch


#1 Dr. Narwhals Mating vs. #10 Gandalf Hernandez