I have often wondered if surnames predict careers. Is it a subconscious decision or deliberate? When I worked as an illustrator at the VA Hospital I observed many interesting parallels. I often heard their names called through the intercom system above my drawing board. “Dr. Bonebreak, Please come to orthopedics.” Yes. He was an orthopedic surgeon.
Dr. Goodfriend continues to work as Chief of Medicine and has the role of flying across the country as a liaison for the hospital and in helping researchers apply for grants.
My favorite of all time is Dr. Bloodworth who was the Chief Pathologist and worked in autopsy down in the basement of the hospital where the morgue was located.
I have a friend who has a dermatologist named Dr. Boyle.
The ex-CEO of Krispy Kreme is Scott Livengood whom probably is; hence the “ex.”
In ancient times, it became common for a man to take the name of his profession as clans became towns that grew along with communities. People needed a way to distinguish themselves. Being a patriarchal society, families were handed down the surname of their father. We probably all know a Baker, a Gardener, or a Fisher, and everyone is familiar with Potter.
My friend Johanna remembers working at a very large company called GTE with Carl Engineer and Firoz Doctor. Their names made it very confusing for a temporary secretary who happened to answer the phone one day when Carl wanted to speak to Firoz.
“Is Firoz Doctor there?” asked Carl.
“Wait. Doctor who?” asked the secretary.
“Which doctor did you want to speak to?
“I told you already. Firoz Doctor.”
“You mean Dr. Firoz?” asked the secretary.
“No! Not Dr. Firoz. Firoz Doctor.”
“I am sorry sir, but I don’t know who Firo’s Doctor is. Maybe you should ask Mr. Firo.”
“Just look up his name in the directory. F I R O Z Doctor,” said Carl. He was more than a bit exasperated at this point.
“Oh! Here he is!”
“Just tell him it’s Mr. Engineer.”
In fact, Carl was an electrical engineer.
Here in Boulder we have our own Dr. Weiner. He practices urology and specializes in vasectomies. He prefers the pronunciation Winer.
I bet you know someone who practices the profession of their last name.