Sunday, February 8, 2009

When Good Aptonyms Go Bad

Walking through my neighborhood yesterday, my husband and I saw a house for sale. The name on the sign was such a perfect example of what The New Scientist has dubbed "nominative determinism" that I was tempted to stop and take a photo. The name? Cashin and Company. This is really the name of a real estate company. Cashin. Yes, say it slowly out loud. Not a difficult one to notice. This is a classic in what has now become a series I seem to be writing on "aptonyms" -- or, names that are all too appropriate to their owners. The last few being Bernie Madoff, Philander Rodman, Gary Gygax, and Louise Story.

Now, of course this is the name of a company, not a person. But my curiosity was piqued the minute I saw the sign. Was this a family name? If so, who were these original Cashins? And did they, so to speak, cash in on the real estate boom before cashing out and saddling this name with a new generation of realtors? When I got home I started doing some research. It wasn't easy, mind you, because when you enter the word "Cashin" along with the word "Realtor" on Google you get over 2 million hits, almost all of which are instructional pages on how to cash in on the real estate bubble.

After much blood, sweat and tears, I did manage to track down a page that gave a history of the Cashin company, and I couldn't have been better rewarded. According to the site, the story goes as follows:
"Our Roots: For over half a century, the name Cashin has been synonymous with exceptional quality, integrity and service in peninsula real estate. Cashin Company’s roots on the peninsula date back more than 50 years to when Emmet J. Cashin, Jr. began selling homes for Fox & Carskadon in Burlingame. By personally helping to develop neighborhoods like Sharon Heights, Sky Farm, Tobin Clark and Hillsdale, Emmet helped build the local communities we all know today. Later, Emmet’s son, Skip, took over Fox & Carskadon and grew it into one of the most successful independent real estate companies in the country." (Italics mine.)

I don't know why any businessman who was already saddled with the overly obviously name Cashin would choose to name his son Skip, but this is just what Emmet Cashin did. I have to admit that while researching this, a part of me hoped to find that the son had left town and was now on the run, but sadly this was not the case. If he's living out his name at all, however, it could be that as the real estate industry slides into oblivion, Skip Cashin may in fact not be earning the same level of revenues as he once did, in which case the name would have an unfortunate ring of truth to it--no doubt he must forego the usual bonuses for himself and his employees until this real estate mess gets sorted out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's things like this that make me wonder if we are indeed characters in someone's novel. If so, at least the author has a sense of humour. ;)