A rose by any other name ... isn’t fooling anyone

So Bresnan is now Optimum, Mesa State is CMU, and Qwest is Century Link. But I’m still Steve — that is, until the PR firm I hired comes back with their recommendations, at which point they’ll undoubtedly suggest I switch to something more hip and exotic, like “Javier.”

A lot of institutions have recently adopted new names. Some of these changes are a result of acquisitions, while others are a result of marketing people who like to sniff glue.

Bresnan used to be TCI. About the time I got used to writing “Bresnan” on my checks, they changed to “Optimum,” which is derived from “Optimus,” the Latin word for “slow internet connection.”

So now they’re “Optimum.” We know this because every 30 seconds or so they run a commercial with that smarmy guy with the New York accent who goes on and on about how great Optimum is, and how those Dish Network people are evil pond scum who beat their wives.

As part of the change, Optimum has this fancy new logo. It’s plastered on their mailings — including the one informing me that since I was such a decent, loyal customer who always paid on time, they were going to raise my rates. I’m not sure why there’s another price increase; I guess they have to pay the smarmy guy.

Along with the price hike, they rearranged the TV lineup — this after customer surveys revealed that people were able to find their favorite channels too easily. So the bad news is that cable rates increased. The good news is that I now have three more Mexican channels and the Oprah Winfrey Network.

I’m becoming reacquainted with books.

Mesa State changed their name after school officials said “geographical” issues were causing people to get it confused with the town of Mesa, Ariz.


We’re all familiar with the countless stories involving the thousands of 18-year-old students, who, each fall, would be found wandering aimlessly around the streets of Mesa, Ariz., holding skateboards and “Introduction to Biology” textbooks, desperately looking for the Mesa State College campus. Many wound up starving to death.

It goes without saying that people who can’t even figure out which state their college is in are exactly the type of bright, young scholars we want here in Grand Junction.

It’s like when they changed the name of Walker Field to Grand Junction Regional Airport under the theory that people didn’t know where Walker Field was located. As if each year, thousands of travelers hopped an airplane bound for Walker Field, thinking they were going to land in say, Fiji.

WOMAN (stepping onto tarmac): “Harold, this doesn’t look like the South Pacific. Where are we?”

HAROLD: I don’t know. I guess that’ll teach me not to browse Expedia after drinking gin. Wait. That man over there has a sweatshirt that says “Mesa State College.”


HAROLD: So that means we’re in Arizona.

Banks are worse. Banks change their names every 18 months to ensure you’ll have to order new checks. I don’t even know what the bank at Sixth and Rood is calling itself nowadays.  I just know that in May of 1993 they turned me down for a car loan. Not that I’m still bitter.

Century Link is what Qwest used to be, only with fewer indictments. Originally Mountain Bell, they renamed themselves Qwest, which is just like the word “quest,” only obviously much hipper because it has a “W.” Convicted of fraud in 2007, Joe Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest, currently resides in federal pwrison.

Yet some companies stubbornly resist change. Ford has kept their same old boring name for 109 years now. Granted, they made a $20.2 billion profit last year, but clearly, from a marketing standpoint, they’re clueless. I’m going to write a letter and tell them they need to keep up with the times.

I’ll sign it, “Sincerely, Javier.”

The author would like to thank one Ethel Nevius, of South Broadway, for the very kind letter she sent.

The author can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), unless you have a complaint, subpoena or outstanding I.O.U.,  in which case he can be reached directly at (970) 555-5555.


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