I’m riding 'The Couv' wave!

By Lou Brancaccio, Columbian editor


photoLou Brancaccio

Sometimes, we simply don’t recognize stuff when we first see or hear it.

For example, in 1977 here’s what Ken Olsen, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., had to say:

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”

Then, there was the Decca Records executive listening to a new band back in 1962.

“We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out.”

That’swhat the Man said when he rejected The Beatles.

Hey, it happens.

So, when I suggested that maybe we should consider changing the name Vancouver to “The Couv,” I didn’t really expect to be hoisted on the shoulders of the city’s fathers and have a street named after me.

And, ah, I was right.

OK, so the mayor — lovingly — called the idea “harebrained.” (Although he admits he often refers to Vancouver as “The Couve.”)

And OK, 90 percent of the 1,500 votes on our unscientific Web poll — about the change — went with this choice:

“What are you guys drinking down there? Leave Vancouver, Vancouver!”

But that’s not all.

Here is what two new friends of mine — Roger and Donell — had to say:

“No responsible resident of Vancouver uses the term ‘Couv.’ Only an outsider like you would attempt to create disharmony in the city. You, however seem to relish in it.”

They went on to conclude — and I’m sure they meant this in a polite way — that I should have been “booted out the door a long time ago.”


Now, after living here for 14 years, I’ve come up with three important rules just in case you’re crazy enough to veer — even slightly — off the beaten path.

  1. No funny stuff.
  2. If you do funny stuff, be ready to stop, drop and roll.
  3. Always refer back to Rule No. 1.

The idea genesis

Last week, I was mostly minding my own business when I began looking for domain names on the Internet and found — much to my surprise — people had already bought most names with “couv” or “couve” in them.

It got me to thinkin’: If everyone is using “The Couv” to refer to Vancouver, maybe it would be a good idea to change the name of the city to “The Couv.”

We would no longer be confused with Vancouver, B.C., and we’d have a hip, younger vibe to our name to better compete with Portland. Plus — I suspect — this also would help reduce the number of dental cavities in our area.

So, I wrote about it, and by doing so, I (dramatic pause required here) broke Rule No. 1.

More Friends

Here’s more from another new friend, Angel. She writes on our website:

Couv is just stupid! It’s worse than Boring, OR. Are we trying to make some nationwide hick list of worst names to call cities or something?”

(I like your name, Angel.)

At least ClarkFoodFarm — where do people get these Web names — took a more humorous approach:

“Since city government is so short on money, why don’t we just sell our city name ... ? Sleep Country, WA, anyone?”

I did a bunch of radio and TV interviews after my column appeared last week, and I was asked what I thought the chances were of the city actually changing its name to “The Couv.”

I’m thinking, not so much, at least not right away. It might be an idea before its time.

I think I’ll ring up The Beatles — what’s left of them — to see if they have any advice.

“The Long and Winding Road.”

Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. Reach him at 360-735-4505 or lou.brancaccio@columbian.com.