What’s in a name?

Michael McGuire

Some government agencies don’t do so hot in the reputation category. I’m sure the IRS and the DMV immediately stand out in everyone’s mind.

These days it seems like FEMA isn’t too far behind them.

But those other two agencies don’t get accused of not getting anything done. Plus, FEMA doesn’t strike fear into our hearts like a cold government bureaucracy should. Not like the “I–R–S” and “D-M-V” do. They command respect – even if they screw up – through fear. I cried last week at motor vehicles and I didn’t even do anything wrong. “If you had only filled out a form wrong or forgotten a critical document like most people do, I wouldn’t have had to yell at you for something totally un-related, like looking like John Candy when he was in Plains, Trains and Automobiles,” barked the DMV lady. She sounded right even when she was wrong.

FEMA, on the other hand, sounds like a good name for a wholesale foods distributor.

They deal with disasters – and not well, some say. But when things go bad – FEMA. When things get worse – FEMA. When despair breaks the levees – FEMA. Like it or not, they are the tax-payer’s answer to the mini-apocalypses. Let’s give them a name and an attitude that suits the part.

Here’s a suggestion for the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s new name:


It doesn’t stand for anything but it sounds nasty and “tuff.”

Read two probable testimonials from disaster victims who dealt with a new-look, more IRS-like, emergency administration:

“Within hours of the disaster, SKULL was promptly there to be surly, cold and apathetic to my situation. The agent I met with misplaced my paperwork, but eventually issued a check to help repair my storefront – not before making me feel really lousy about it. Thanks SKULL.”

“Not only did SKULL deny my requests for federal assistance after floods left me homeless, they said if I kept complaining that they’d come down here and give me something to cry about. I believe it.”

Sounds like they’re taking-care-of-business to me.

If you’ve got a good name you’d like FEMA to consider, feel free to send it in a post-marked envelope to evesun.com blog comments, P.O. Box 8337, Burbank, CA 91502.