Code Name

            I’ve read that in the past week one of the things on Kamala Harris’s to do list was to select her Secret Service code name.  She picked “Pioneer.”  It seems perfect.  I found myself wondering if she’d been thinking about this before now – back when she first threw her hat in the presidential ring or maybe in the months when she was out of the race and wondering about the vice president thing.  Or maybe it was just an off the cuff lucky selection – something she seems very capable of doing.

            I then found myself wondering about what I would pick for my own Secret Service code name.  I have more time to think about this right now than Kamala does. 

            So, where do you start?  It needs to fit you, it needs to be easy to speak into those little wrist microphones that the Secret Service uses.  I guess it should be a little inspirational.  I have resisted the impulse to go check to see what code name the current president uses.  I don’t want that image in my mind.

            For myself, I came up with and quickly rejected many possibilities:

            My favorite ice cream/gelato flavor?  Stracciatella – too hard to say and too foreign.

            My favorite shoe brand?  Repetto – again the foreign problem.

            My writing idol?  Edith Wharton.  Maybe.

            My favorite classical muse?  Terpsichore?  That would definitely NOT work.  Not everyone knows how to pronounce it – but that is definitely the kind of federal official I would want to be. 

            A ballet heroine?  There are so many.  But which ones are appropriate for this?  Ah, yes, Kitri!  Full of fire and good upbeat energy.  I like that.  That is definitely on the short list.

            A food or beverage item?  That’s a bit challenging.  Tea drinker?  No, that’s too passive and old-fashioned.  Veuve Clicquot?  I like the image, but again the foreign pronunciation problem and the alcohol connection is probably not ideal.  Wait, wait, I know.  Arugula!  My favorite salad green.  A little bitter and interesting and not universally liked.  Ha!  For me, I could eat an entire plate with just a little balsamic vinegar.  It’s the only thing from some former extreme diet habits that I still use.  Yes, that’s perfect.  But again, we have the foreign pronunciation issue.  By now certainly everyone knows how to pronounce arugula?  Maybe not.  And it doesn’t quite roll off the tongue.  But wait – don’t the British call arugula “rocket”?  I seem to remember that from looking at translated restaurant menus and getting confused. 

That’s it – code name “rocket.”

3 thoughts on “Code Name

  1. I like the idea of being called “rocket,” although there’s probably some governmental rule against it. I’ve never thought of a secret service name for myself––chilling thought. For a while I used foreign street names for my computer passwords (closest I will ever get). I think I’ve passed out of that phase so I will write down one: “StoraNygatan.” (Swedish) More recently, I’ve used names from my favorite (or newly favorite) authors or their principal characters. Foreignness and pronunciation not a problem––perhaps even an advantage? Thanks for your notes on Pelikan Perch!


  2. I personally love arugula-everything about it! I think arugula would be even better than “rocket”which somehow does not quite capture the mystery of the green itself. 🥰


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