What’s in a name? Sometimes they reveal plenty | TheUnion.com

What’s in a name? Sometimes they reveal plenty

John HartRandy Gunning stands next to a line of patrol cars at the California Highway Patrol office in the Brunswick Basin. And, yes, speeders he pulls over sometimes do have fun with his name.
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If California Highway Patrol Officer Randy Gunning pulls you over, you might make some comment about how he was “gunning” for speeders.

You wouldn’t be the first.

“People that I’ll stop, they’ll look at my name tag, and they’ll go ‘Oh, that’s very fitting,” said Gunning, an officer at Grass Valley’s CHP post.

“I kind of have fun with it when I can. It kind of eases the tension that they might have.”

If your name is Smith, you probably had a blacksmith for an ancestor. If you’re a Miller, a millstone probably figures in your family’s past.

But some modern-day Nevada Countians have names that fit their jobs. They all say it’s just a coincidence; their names didn’t inspire them to take up their particular line of work.

Like Larry Beaver, the owner of Timber Pros, a Grass Valley-based logging business.

“I get it a lot. People say, ‘Did you go into the tree business because of your name?” Beaver said. “People ask me about it all the time.”

Eager beaver, bucky beaver, “anything that goes with beaver I think I’ve had,” he said. “You’re always going to get some wise guy say, ‘You’re … gnawing down trees.'”

But the comments and jibes don’t bother Beaver.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “I’ve used a beaver on occasion in advertising.”

Keith Waters recently retired from a 341/2-year career at Nevada Irrigation District, where he worked as a surveyor.

“At work, my nickname was almost always ‘Muddy,'” Waters said.

“A gal at work about 10 years ago sent my name into Herb Caen,” the San Francisco Chronicle columnist who sometimes featured people whose names fit their jobs.

Waters doesn’t know if Caen ever included his name in his column, but “he had some classics in there.”

Kirt Forrest works as recreation officer for the Tahoe National Forest.

When people read his name tag, they make the connection.

“I’ve been hearing that for 29 years, ‘Oh yeah, you’re in the right job.'”

“I just take it in stride, it doesn’t bother me,” Forrest said.

He once had a co-worker whose first name was Rick.

“So he was ‘Ranger Rick,'” said Forrest, who’d point that out when people made comments about Forrest’s last name.

“That usually set ’em back, and I made my break,” Forrest said.

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