I have given up complaining about cashiers asking me for a “good” phone number or e-mail address.  First of all, I’m flattered, but I’m happily married.  Second, even if I concede that you actually need my data, why specify that it must be “good”?  Are they the type of people who ask for information in other contexts (the club, the gym, wherever else undesirable people are making overtures)?  Anyway, the editor in my cringes when I hear that.  Unnecessary words make me sad.

That said, I encountered a barista recently who was asking for “a good name” to call out when the patron’s coffee was ready.  “A good name.”  OK, that’s a bridge too far.  I must comment on that.

No, scratch that.  I’ve stared at that sentence for a half-hour now.  I have no comment.

I suppose I will resort to the obvious and refer to Ecclesiastes 7:1.  “A good name” is indeed a treasured thing — especially in the context, which focuses largely on end-of-life considerations.  On my deathbed I may desire the comfort that “a good ointment” might provide.  For the thoughtful one, though, much greater comfort will be taken from the knowledge that his or her name will be remembered for good.  That was Nehemiah’s prayer (Nehemiah 13:31).  And being remembered by God for good is even better than being remembered by neighbors or family.

As with phone numbers or e-mail addresses, what’s the point in having a name if it isn’t a good one? 

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