The envelope please

Okay, the poll is over. I almost ended it a couple hours ago, but figured I would wait 'til I had time to write up the results; but then someone decided to spend 20 minutes voting 36 times in rapid succession, and I decided it was time to shut down the survey. Thanks to all who participated.

In case that multiple-voter was just confused: I intended people to vote one time for as many names as they liked, rather than to vote for a set of names multiple times. At any rate, I've deleted that cluster of 36 votes to make it easier for me to view the legitimate results; in case anyone cares, the deleted votes were all for some subset of the names Cerebus, Ecclesiastes, Gus, Jasper, and Sebastian.

Unfortunately, there doesn't appear to be any way to stop collecting votes without also hiding the results. But the survey company deletes results after a few months anyway, so I'll close the survey and post the highlights here:

There were 47 valid responses. Each respondent voted for an average of about 5 names. Some voted for only one name; others voted for a dozen or more. Some comments on particular names:

Mr. Lumps was the top vote-getter, with 16 votes. I admit to being surprised by this result; it seems like a good name for someone to give a stuffed animal, particularly for the child protagonist of a kids' fantasy book to give a stuffed animal, but I'm afraid it didn't appeal to me in this particular case. However, Karen gets the chooser-of-most-popular-name award for coming up with it. I thought maybe it was a reference to some item of pop culture I was missing, but the only "Mr. Lumps" revealed by a Google search is the CEO of "Savage Entertainment," apparently a hip-hop record label (or possibly band). There's also a wacky surreal story featuring a "Mrs. Lumps" (which is misprinted in one place as "Mr. Lumps"), and the phrase "to make friends with Mr. Lumps" (which I guess is a euphemism), and a 9-year-old's page containing a story featuring a Mr. Lump (and ending with the phrase "That's why mothers are the best," all the more apropos for a name suggested by Karen).

Pamplemousse came in a close second, with 15 votes. As I noted previously, it means "grapefruit" in French. I think it would be a good name for a grapefruit-colored (or -flavored?) stuffed moose, but (sorry, Megan) it just didn't seem to me like quite the right name for this particular heffalump.

Here are the next few names, and the number of votes each received:

Sebastian 11
Eleanor 11
Hortense 10
Mortimer 10
Helmut 10
Jasper 9
Gus 9
Gustav 9
Portnoy 9
Hopeful 8
Gertrude 8

There's no obvious place to stop, so I'll make an arbitrary cutoff at 8 votes. (Each of the 39 names suggested received at least one vote, including Eeyore even though I accidentally left it off the list, for which I apologize again to Tempest.)

I rather like most of the names in the above table as names for this particular heffalump; I'm particularly fond of Eleanor and Jasper. I like Sebastian, too (suggested by Sally).

Hortense appeals to me largely because it could almost be a female form of Horton (both as in the Seussian elephant, and Edward Everett Horton). (Also, Hortense is the only one on the list that was my idea.) Helmut the Heffalump has a nice sort of sound to it, if you pronounce it Germanishly rather than sounding just like helmet. I think if I were to pick Mortimer, the full name would be Mortimer J. Heffalump, in honor of Mortimer J. Snerd. (I suppose the J. could stand for Jasper.)

Gus and Gustav each have their own appeal, and it's nice that one is short for the other. Portnoy is very tempting, but somehow sounds a little more like an elephant name to me than a heffalump name. Hopeful the Heffalump has a reasonably nice ring to it, but is a little too cute, I think. I think Gertrude is an underrated name; it has a sort of stodgy sound to it to modern ears, I think, but I could see it being the name of a solid-citizen type, honorable and loyal and brave. But not quite right for this heffalump. (Not, mind you, that the heffalump in question is not honorable and loyal and brave.)

And there were plenty of names that I wouldn't particularly object to below the cutoff line as well.

But in spite of all temptation (to pick other appellation), I've chosen Eleanor. Which, interestingly enough, was the very first name suggested when Eleanor first came out of her box, suggested (according to my notes) by Nao. In fact, I think it may've been Nao who first noticed that she (Eleanor, not Nao—see the problems that gendered pronouns result in?) was a heffalump, though I may be wrong about that.

My second choice would be Jasper, suggested by Hannah. I haven't yet decided whether Eleanor should adopt Jasper as a middle name.

I believe Eleanor does have the family name Heffalump, which makes it easier to write double-dactyls about her. And I've tentatively decided to use female pronouns for her as a matter of convenience, at least until such time as she requests that I stop.

So there you have it. The saga of the naming of Eleanor Heffalump draws to a close. Thanks again to all who suggested names, provided biological information, voted, or otherwise participated in the process.

Eleanor thanks you as well. She was getting a little mopey over not having a name yet.

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