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In our home, my wife, children, and I have adopted the term "Carlingwood" to refer to something that ought to be painfully obvious, but you simply never noticed before or thought about enough to make sense of it.

The term came from something our younger son said once. Carlingwood is a shopping mall not far from where we live. I'd been going there since the early 1960s, and simply accepted the name at face value, never thinking about its origin. Same for my wife. For a few years, we lived right beside it. A few years ago, our son noted that it was likely named as such because it was at the corner of Carling and Woodroffe avenues; Carling - Wood. Well, duh! Why hadn't I noticed before? Why had it never dawned on me? We hear names for things, swallow them whole, and never think twice about where the name comes from.

While at McGill, a lab-mate lived in an apartment in The Stanbrooke, located at the corner of Stanley and Sherbrooke. That one was a little more obvious, given that you could see the big name plate on the front of the building at the same time as you looked at the street-name signs while you waited for the lights to change at the intersection. That only makes other instances where names go right over your head all the more embarassing.

The most recent "Carlingwood" came the other day when the same son mentioned meeting up with some freinds at a favorite spot of his in Halifax: "Good Robot". I had heard him mention the place before, and driven past it multiple times on our last visit, but the name always seemed quizzical to me. I paused, and asked: "That's on Robie St., right?". He confirmed. Then the light finally went on. Robbie is the "good robot" in the classic sci-fi film Forbidden Planet ( Robby the Robot - Wikipedia ). When I noted this, he went on to talk about all the pop-culture references they name their beers after. What I had simply accepted at face value suddenly had origins.

I'm sure others have their own "Carlingwoods"
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