On the day I was born, my Dad went out to buy me my first toy. He chose a cuddly elephant; a simple design for infants with two big ears, a trunk, two feet and a rattle. The staff at the hospital were dismissive of this gift, informing my parents that babies were not interested in soft toys for many months.
THEY WERE WRONG.
Dad was later to say that this elephant was the most successful gift he had ever bought anyone. It became my constant companion and when I was old enough, I named it:
(Friends party to a recent discussion in which I attempted to name my iPod shuffle 'iPod shuffle' will now realise my inspired christenings began at an early age. Just be glad my cat isn't named 'cat').
As the months went by, concern started to grow that the loss of Jumbo might mean irreversible psychological damage. For my parents, that was, since it seemed likely I would scream for the next 20 years in such an eventuality. Since Jumbo came everywhere with me and had an adventurous spirit with a love of water, insanity was looming on the horizon.
In an effort to protect against the inevitable, Dad went out and purchased a second toy elephant. This one looked exactly the same as Jumbo, but its rattle had a different tone. I named this one:
Jumbo 2 was a popular addition but suffered from one very obvious flaw: She wasn't Jumbo 1.
In a desperate second attempt, a third elephant was purchased. This one sounded just like Jumbo 1 but was a different colour, having orange ears and a white coat rather than white ears and a yellow coat. Clearly, he too was also not Jumbo 1.
Oddly, while the second two Jumbos had clearly defined genders, Jumbo 1's gender remained ambiguous. Possibly this is deeply significant. Could these two Jumbos never replace THE Jumbo because of Jumbo 1's unique transsexual life perspective? Did Jumbo 1 feel constrained by the psychological pressures surrounding children's toys? Or perhaps the neutral colour of its original box left it without a feeling of identity that only intensified as I grasped my own. DID JUMBO 1 JUST WANT TO BE FREE?
... that would explain the number of times Jumbo 1 got lost.
Dinner guests at our house would often have to be introduced to the three Jumbos. I would stand by the door to our sitting room and hold up the first elephant.
"This is Jumbo 1."
There'd be the customary murmur of what I deemed was approval, but on later reflection was probably sympathy: This poor mundane child. She would probably grow up to became a physicist. Oblivious to this remorse, I would then proceed to hold up the second elephant.
"This is Jumbo 2."
A polite laugh would eminent from my audience. I would then hold up the third elephant.
"Jumbo 3." They would always chorus.
HOW WRONG THEY WERE.
".... New Jumbo," I would say, astounded at the stupidity of the people before me. What sort of completely ridiculous name would 'Jumbo 3' be? Good grief. These people were supposed to be adults.
Nobody understood my genius. UNTIL NOW.
May I point you all to:
iPad 1, iPad 2 and the NEW IPAD.
When it was launched, Dad sent me an email asking if I'd secretly been appointed Head of Naming at Apple. I replied that my bank account suggested I had not.