Names and occupations

And now a Zippy for the weekend:

It’s a Zippy name thing again:

David Nebulon, Quantum Physician
Vera Baker, Organic Donuts

This time it seems pretty clear that the names are made up, to create that special relationship between some people’s family names and their occupations. (But it would be delicious if Bill Griffith had actually found the sign in real life.)

But of course there’s more. Is quantum physician a subsective compound, in which case a quantum physician is a physician? (And if so, what’s the semantic relationship between physician and quantum?) Or is it to be understood as parallel to quantum physicist, so that quantum physics is involved in its interpretation? Or, somehow, both?

Then there’s organic donuts, with organic having drifted from applying to the grain to applying to the donuts it’s made into (on the road to hypallage, discussed most recently on this blog here).

Finally, there are conventions about how occupations are listed (on signs, in directories, etc.), with the Zippy sign illustrating two of the most common schemes: job title (quantum physician) and service rendered or product offered (organic donuts).

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