An epilogue to yesterday’s post about Lynn, Mass.: A reader reminded me yesterday of the time some Lynners tried to get the city’s name changed so the “Lynn, Lynn city of sin” insult could no longer apply.
From my friend Katherine Doot: “Thought they wanted to change the name to Ocean Park some years ago? So it was Ocean Park Ocean Park never go out after dark?!”
I had forgotten about that, but it’s true. That was one of the movements afoot the year I covered the city as a reporter in 1997. I thought it was a stupid idea from the start, and I’m glad most people didn’t take it seriously.
My first concert was a festival headlined by Motley Crue in 1985 at Manning Bowl in Lynn. That was at the start of the band’s “Theater of Pain” tour. I have fond memories of singer Vince Neil badly mispronouncing the city’s name as “Leeeee-innnnn!”
If the city had been named Ocean Park, he might have pronounced it correctly and I wouldn’t have that fun memory of mangled language today. That would suck.
My main point is this, though: You can change your name, but it isn’t going to change who you are or who you should be.
If you don’t like yourself or your city, a name change is a stupid and ineffective way of trying to hide in plain sight.
You want real change for a city, you have to change the politics and clean up the streets. I think Lynn has made good progress on both fronts.
If you want real change for yourself, you have to identify what you don’t like and rebuild yourself.