Announcing the Winners of Our Aptonym Contest

Last week, I blogged about a magazine fact-checker named Paige Worthy and asked you to submit your best aptonyms. You responded mightily, with nearly 300 submissions. Judging from this sample, the dentists, proctologists, and eye doctors of America seem particularly prone to aptonymous behavior. Below you will find the best submissions. As promised, the readers who sent them will receive a Freakonomics prize: either a signed copy of the book, a Freakonomics yo-yo, or this just-released 2008 Freakonomics fact-a-day calendar. But first, a little more information about the person who got this all started, Paige Worthy:

Yes, she is real, and that is her real name. Not only is she a researcher for Good magazine, but she is also a copy editor for Ride and King magazines, both of which are geared toward a black male readership. The first is a car magazine; the second is a lad magazine, apparently referred to in some quarters as Blaxim. “I’m a white girl, by the way,” Paige wrote in to say. She lives in New York and is originally from Kansas City — where, she says, “I worked at a little community outfit called the Sun Tribune Newspapers, where I was a copy editor and page designer, so my name was doubly apt at that point.”

So, because she is real and because her name is the perfect aptonym, Paige Worthy definitely gets whatever Freakonomics prize she wants. The other winners:

Limberhand the Masturbator: A reader named Robbie wrote in to tell of an Idaho court case about expected privacy in a public restroom stall. This was in relation to the Larry Craig brouhaha. Here’s a brief excerpt from the Idaho case:

The defendant was arrested for obscene conduct after an officer observed him, through a four-inch hole in a stall partition, masturbating in a public restroom. This Court determined that Limberhand had a legitimate expectation of privacy in the restroom stall notwithstanding the existence of the hole.” That’s right, the man in the stall, caught masturbating, was named Limberhand.

(Hat tips: Opinionator and

(Honorable mention in the below-the-belt aptonym category goes to the reader who wrote this: “I once edited a medical journal article about penile lengthening, written by Dr. Bob Stubbs. Best of all, he learned his technique from a Chinese plastic surgeon, Dr. Long.”)

Eikenberry the Funeral Director:

A reader named Paul A. wrote this: “In Peru, Indiana, there’s a funeral home director whose last name is ‘Eikenberry’ (pronounced ‘I can bury’). He’s actually part of a partnership, and the funeral home is called (drumroll, please), ‘Eikenberry Eddy.'”

(Honorable mention in the Six Feet Under category to the reader who writes this: “In my hometown [Amarillo, TX], there is a funeral director called Boxwell Brothers. This one can’t be beat.”

Justin Case the Insurance Guy:

I’m not sure this one is real but I will assume that Kyle S., the reader who sent it in, is an honest man: “My State Farm agent’s name is Justin Case…” Enough said.

And finally, though I said we’d give just three prizes, there were so many aptonymous dentists that I think we have to stretch the winners to four. Here’s my favorite:

Chip Silvertooth:

A reader named Scott Moonen writes: “My former dentist was named Eugene Silvertooth. From childhood he had the nickname Chip Silvertooth.”

And the dentist honorable mention goes to reader Anshuman: “Unfortunately, I moved away from San Francisco and had to leave my dentist, Dr. Les Plack. He was born for the job, right?”

Thanks to everyone for playing. If you are a winner, we will contact you by the e-mail address you used when you left your comment. If that e-mail isn’t real, please send your contact info to

ils vont...

There has got to be some Urologists or OBGYN's with some interesting aptonyms. Its worth researching.


A close family member has had several OB-GYNs with great names, among them Dr. Richard (Dick) Peters, and Dr. Leroy Stiff. She now says that she doesn't trust any OB-GYN with a normal name.

Linda Loomis

Wait, wait, I forgot dentist Neil Mate.

A Brooklyn dentist who was suspended in 1997 for fondling a patient was arrested yesterday after masturbating on another woman and holding her captive in his office for more than seven hours, cops said.

Dr. Neil Mate, 51, of Manhattan Avenue Dental Excellence in Greenpoint, bonded the victim's teeth Thursday evening and then suggested a cleaning, cops said. As he worked, he moaned and yelped, rubbing his genitals against the woman's side, police said.

He then allegedly pulled down his pants and began fondling himself. The terrified woman tried to flee, but Mate wouldn't let her go, cops said.


Wait, is masturbator now an occupation? Is there some kind of trade school? What union are they aligned to?


Nearly every man in Rochester who has had a vasectomy has been to see Dr. Stopp.

The original retired but his son has taken over the bustling practice. Listed as "surgeons" they pretty much perform only this one.


Years ago I worked at a hospital in Northern Ca. with a doctor named Richard Head. Of course he went by Dick. A friend of my wife used to date him and I always enjoyed asking her if she was still seeing that Dick Head. It's still funny to me.

Kim Huffman ( a guy )

Dr. Strait Fairey of Charleston, S.C...runs Lowcountry Medical Associates....

Rita: Lovely Meter Maid

Oh god, the pain of knowing that my entry, (an archbishop named Cardinal Sin!), didn't make the cut is just excruciating...

I mean, as excellent as these winning entries are, I really thought that Freakonomics yo-yo was gonna be spinning from my hand any day now.

You guys drive a hard aptonym.

Nick Davis

OK, I should have submitted with the last one. I used to work for a company that put together lists of doctors. The QA depratment spotted one that had to be a joke:

An ob/gyn named Harry Beaver. But we called his office and he exists. Proof:


My 7th grade English teacher was the lovely and sarcastic Freda Spell. To us, of course, she was Ms. Spell.

Also, our librarian was Mr. Reader, but I don't remember his first name.

Julie Gomoll

There's a urologist in Austin who does vasectomies. His name is Richard Chopp. He goes by Dick. That's right - I actually know a few men who got vasectomies from Dr. Dick Chopp.


I didn't submit, but there's an orthodontist down the street from my mom's house named Dr. Byron Bonebreak.

First name doesn't fit, but the surname's pretty funny.


Don't know if this has been mentioned before, but the leader of the Progressive Conservative party in Ontario (a.k.a. the Tory party) is John Tory.


If you don't believe Julie, just look here:

I've been chopped by the good doctor myself. Seems to have worked.

Mario Ruiz

Dear Stephen,

What I am most joyfully surprised is the fertile imagination of the people that read this post.

Maybe is the nature of the post, but I do not think is common to all blogs.

Congrat! You bring the best of us.

Mario Ruiz


I used to teach at a high school in central California, and I was friends with Carl Hammer, the wood shop teacher. I think he's retired now. That's certainly not as good as the others listed, but it's pretty good.


there's actually a police constable in my hometown (in central queensland) named Wayne Kerr. (SRSLY) And a Catholic priest whose surname was Bishop - making him Father Bishop.


I wish read the previous blog in time to submit, but I was pretty alarmed when I called the military base clinic to scheduled a yearly exam and found out my new gynecologist would be Major Johnson.


Amusements like this seem surprisngly (?) common. I my home town, there is a Dr. Payne (rhymes with pain) and Dr. Slaughter.


When I was in colleged I interned in a reality tv show helping the production team. We were trying to find a fireman who appeared on a tape rescuing an old lady from a flood. His name was Bienvenido Aguado, which in Spanish means "Welcome Downpour"!

Also, my gynecologist for a while was a very nice doctor whose surname was "Escayola", which means "Cast". I suppose that's why she didn't specialize in traumatology...