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The Subtle Art of the Name Drop

Let’s be honest, we’ve all done it at one point or another. As distasteful as it can often be, no one is ever totally immune to the disease of having to drop the occasional name. Not in this city anyway. It’s actually more the norm than the exception. 

In the constant struggle to one-up each other and self-validate, the name drop is a seemingly essential weapon in most people’s arsenal. It’s like everything must be prefaced with a name that validates whatever point they want to get across. After eating, sleeping, and wishing the Knicks would get it together, name dropping is probably right up there on the list of things that come as second nature here in the city. 

There are two types of people in this world: there are those who drop other people’s names, and those who drop their own name. While the second option may seem like the preferred option over the other, don’t be fooled. There are pros and cons to both of these situations.

Clearly if you’re in a position where you’re able to drop your own name, chances are you’re probably doing something right. If however, by some unfortunate turn of events your circumstances change and your name no longer holds weight, or even worse, becomes a source of ridicule, you’re still stuck with that name. Just ask Tara Reid. 


On the other hand, while dropping someone else’s name may not seem as sexy as being able to say, “Do you know who I am?” at least you always have the option of upgrading when your old name-drop is no longer the flavor of the month.

Of course name-dropping is not solely confined to who you know; it can also extend to what you have. I went to someone’s house not too long ago and I observed a rather odd-looking vase in the living room. 

Now when I say odd-looking, I’m actually being generous. What I actually mean to say is that the thing was hideous. 


The owner of the residence happened to catch me as I was staring at in disgust, which she apparently mistook for intrigue, and asked me if I liked it. Now, I am not that good of a liar, so rather than say that I thought it was great or really cool and be called out for obviously lying, I was able to muster up a convincing, “It’s definitely interesting.” 


Well, clearly this lady had been waiting all evening for someone she could talk at about her wonderful vase. So while I didn’t ask for any further background she immediately dove into this diatribe about the history of the vase, and how rare it was and was owned by this famous person and that famous person, blah, blah, blah. Out of everything she said the only thing I heard was the ridiculous price she had paid for that hideous vase. 


At that point I suppose I couldn’t blame her. She clearly feels the need to justify or get some validity from that by making sure everyone that comes into her home knows about this great piece of “art” and how exclusive it is. After that I made a point not to give anything else in her house more than a passing glance. I especially didn’t want to hear the story behind her sofa. That must have been REALLY expensive because it sure was ugly.

Featured Image by Sharon Mollerus on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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