June 17th, 2007

head shot

Full of Beans

Here I am, your trusty trend-o-meter, on the job again.

Remember awhile back when I undertook a study of why every book we picked up seemed to feature the venerable game of dodge ball

Well, here's the latest, similar puzzler:

Why's everyone in every book we pick up named Bean?

To note: 
The imaginative trickster in Annie Barrows' Ivy and Bean
Alexander McCall Smith's clever sleuth Harriet Bean
Lauren Child's utterly beanish dreamer Clarice Bean

 I don't recollect ever actually meeting anyone named Bean. You? 

So what's the deal? 

Is Bean just a natural term of endearment? Starting from when newborns curl up in their sleep sacks and fall asleep in the crook of your neck? Those little beanareenos...

Does Bean just rhyme with too many cute words to resist? 
The Bean Machine... Lean Bean... Sweetest Bean I've Ever Seen...

Is it that Bean conjures up both brains (way to use the ol' bean, kiddo) and whimsy (you're full of beans, rascal), or that beans are healthy, hearty growers, which is what we want our kids to be?

My daughter thinks it's a good, simple, practical name that goes well with frillier first names like Clarice and Harriet.
OK, but whatever happened to Smith and Jones?

This just beats the heck outta me, but here are a few little pearls o' wisdom for you:

1. Do name your children Bean -- they're sure to be both lovable and famous.
2. Don't name your characters Bean -- it's been done.
3. Do host a Bean's Bookclub for kids -- and serve beans, ofcourse! (Baked, black or string should suffice)
4. Don't make a lot of jokes about BeanTown and "Beans, beans, the musical fruit..." Those'll date you...
5. Do try selling a screenplay about a bean playing dodge ball, and send me 5 dollars if you make it big.
6. Don't tell your editor, agent or financial advisor that a bean playing dodge ball was my idea.

Trailing off....