Carolyn the hummingbird and Carolyn the person visit Sacramento, where Carolyn becomes whipsmart, a budding socialite, and a snappy dresser. Carolyn the person, I mean.
Little girls have approximately 842 dolls, and the younger the girls, the greater the chances that all 842 dolls share the same name. And that name? Well, it’s often the name of a playground or preschool pal, a gal who’s usually whipsmart, a budding socialite, and a snappy dresser to boot.
When I was super small, I thought Susie and her frilly dresses were the epitome of cool, which probably comes as no surprise since I wore a moth-eaten cable-knit sweater when I wasn’t wearing my trademark lawn-green, zip-up pantsuit. All my dolls were called Susie.
Here in Sacramento, my friend LuAnne has a hummingbird who visits daily.
“What’s his name?” I asked.
“He doesn’t have a name,” she said. “I think I’ll call him Carolyn.”
Now, I know LuAnne and I aren’t kids and a hummingbird’s not a doll, but the same rules apply I’m sure. In fact, I know they apply because never before in my entire life have I been whipsmart or a budding socialite or a snappy dresser, which is tragically sad. My time has come. For the uninitiated, that’s an example of argumentum ad misericordiam, an appeal that proves that I now AM whipsmart + a budding socialite + a snappy dresser. Throw the hummingbird into the equation (or just toss him in gently—he is a living creature, after all), and the logic is airtight.
You may be inclined to debate me here. I get it. So I should probably tell you that I studied logic in college, which means I’m a logical genius per the argumentum ad ignorantiam proposition. If you find my expertise intimidating, please know that in all probability we’ve both reached irrelevant conclusions involving a red herring, or in this case a not-very-red hummingbird, which in lay terms means “a hummingbird in the hand is worth a fish in the bush.”
But I digress. Carolyn the Hummingbird. Right on.
So every time LuAnne and I talk about Carolyn the Hummingbird, we refer to Carolyn as “he” or “him.” As in, “I’ll name him Carolyn,” and “Oh look, there he is!”
Here’s the kicker—I never once referred to any of my 842 dolls as “he” or “him.” Post hoc ergo propter hoc, the Susie I knew as a child was really a he-wolf in Shakira-like sheep’s clothing. There’s no other logical conclusion. You may be wondering what that says about me, but your wondering is an example o a non sequitur. Now don’t be embarrassed. Faulty reasoning is more common than you’d think.