Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Zurn, Tork and Bobrick Explained

       Zurn, Tork and Bobrick Explained


          One BayCon, at the Santa Clara Hyatt Regency, I was in the men’s-room on the first floor. I noticed that all the urinal plumbing bore a corporate logo: ZURN. I thought, “Zurn?!”; then I turned to wash my hands. The towel dispensers had a corporate logo: TORK. And the hot-air hand-dryers bore the name BOBRICK.

Zurn? Tork? Bobrick? Corporate names are weird for some reason; they have a dream-like quality. This, at a science-fiction convention, invited appropriation by imagination. I figured that Zurn has got to be an evil interstellar emperor, and Bobrick the Earthling adventurer who overthrew him, but I wasn’t sure about Tork. Was he Zurn’s minion, or Bobrick’s sidekick?

          Puzzled by this, I proceeded towards the science-fiction convention’s Info desk. Before reaching the escalators, I met a fellow conventioneer; a tall fellow wearing a fez. I told him about Zurn, Bobrick and Tork, and asked about Tork. He said, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to wipe your memory.” I replied, “Maybe we’ve had this conversation before.”

          I went up the escalator, to the science-fiction con’s Info desk. I told them about Zurn, Bobrick and Tork, and asked about Tork. They handled this absurd question with aplomb, and between them and me, we figured out that Tork started out as one of Zurn’s minions, but ended up as Bobrick’s sidekick.

          Later I met the fez fan again. I said, “Your attempts to suppress the truth have failed.” Then I told  him about Tork’s switching sides.

          And that is how much sense corporate names make.

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