Base Camp is where visitors go to relax, unwind, and get familiar with an anthology of earlier material.

Did You Say Hornimans?

I came across this tea during a trip to the mountains the other day, in a dingy grocery store. It was sitting next to several dusty cans of Milo.

I couldn’t resist buying a packet with a big dumb smile on my face.

A few days later, when I mentioned this tea to a friend of mine, she said the brand is named after a real person, John Horniman, who lived in the 19th century.

In addition to tea, Mr. Horniman has a museum in southeast London named after him.

Its exhibits? Stuffed animals.

Why am I writing about this? Because the name cracks me up. Call my mind dirty/adolescent, but I can’t keep a straight face whenever I come across a Hornimans tea – and now a museum, too.

Not everyone thinks like me, of course. A friend of mine told me she has known this brand for a while, but never thought of it that way. She was kind of disappointed with herself, she said, though I don’t know why. If someone’s disappointed, it should be me for being such a teenager.

Then again, I love the taste of silly. A bit of the old Looney Tunes every day keeps anxiety at bay.

So there you have it. Hornimans.  An adolescent man’s tea. For those moments when you just can’t take a cold shower. 

A friend of mine came up with that one. I can’t take credit for it, even though I’d like to. It’s a great slogan.

To put this Hornimans post in context, let me leave you with what another friend of mine said regarding the name. He said it’s better to be called Mr. Horniman than Mr. Hardick, who is a real life school teacher in Australia.

Yeah, this post just keeps getting classier.

But there’s a point to all this. Think of the parents who took their children to school to receive an education that would prepare them for life’s challenges. Being in Mr. Hardick’s class must have surely been an awkward situation, raising eyebrows.

Talk about being totally unaware of the context. Entering a high-school teaching career with a surname like Hardick is like joining the seminary school and your name, please? Bugger. Frank Bugger!

And a few years later: ‘Father Bugger blesses you, child!’

(See what I mean? An adolescent mind, making light of serious issues!)

Hornimans is a different case though. It’s a tea brand. No one’s getting hurt there.

Bottom line? Words matter. Whether serious and elaborate, or silly and adolescent, they have an effect. We may be quick to poke fun at people whose names sound odd, and there’s a limit to how far we can take it, but there also has to be a sense of awareness regarding one’s own name and circumstances.

So mind what you say and be aware of how you present yourself. What comes out of your mouth next time you open it may help someone suss you up in ways you wouldn’t expect. I need to to stop being so cheeky, and people with weird names need to pay attention to the context, and, per chance, modify their names.