Thursday, January 6, 2011

I've Got a Name

Pregnancy causes all sorts of problems for expectant fathers.  A constantly complaining wife, late-night errands to the 7-Eleven in search of dill pickles and rocky road ice cream, sitting though Lamaze (French for "breathe, dammit, breathe!")  classes just to name a few.  The future mom also experiences some minor inconveniences, too insignificant to bother with here.  Suffice it to say that bringing a child into the world is a team effort requiring the active participation of both parents and in some unfortunate instances, a nagging mother-in-law.

Among the most important decisions a couple must make during the nine-month interval between passionate sweaty romance and a goopy bundle of joy is selecting a name to bestow upon their young one.  As proven by Frank and Mrs. Zappa, who named two of their kids "Moon Unit" and "Dweezil", this is not a responsibility you should take lightly.

One option is to purchase a book of baby names.  You should definitely go this route if you are, among other things, very stupid.  This is because baby name books cost anywhere from eight to fifteen dollars and consist of names that you are familiar with already such as "Jason" and "Jennifer" just to name two.  If you wish to give your child a less common name, say, "Erassmuss" or "Strychnine", you are better off putting him up for adoption to save him from a lifetime of ridicule and schoolyard beatings. 

If for some reason you have difficulty developing your own list of potential kid monikers, you might want to consult a cheaper reference source: your phone book.  This is also basically a list of names, and it is delivered to your home completely free of charge.  When choosing a name from the phone book make sure to use the white pages only.  Otherwise, years down the road, a detailed psychologist's report may be submitted as a defense exhibit in the murder trial of your son, Pizza Hut Wilson.

If you happen to have a last name that is also an actual word, you will have to exercise extreme caution when naming your baby.  For example, during my lifetime I've met folks with names like -- and I'm not making these up -- Candy Barrs, Crystal Shanda Lear, and Bill Folds.  Name your kid something like that, and you should not be surprised if one night he stabs you in your sleep.

My friend Mike would hurt himself if he tried this.
Common last names can also cause problems if you're not careful.  A young man named Paul Washington will have no trouble getting through life without being teased.  Name that same kid George, though, and it's a different story altogether.  I work with a guy whose actual name is Michael Jordan.  If he had a dime for every time he's heard, "You're much shorter than I thought you'd be" or "do you play basketball?" we could both retire quite comfortably.  Some idiots even ask him if his parents named him Michael because they were Chicago Bulls fans.  My friend Mike was born in 1961.  Jordan the basketball star was born in 1963 and the Chicago Bulls franchise was founded in '66.  So Mike's parents can't be faulted for sticking him with that name, as there's no way they could've known it would be a source of frustration for him later.  Besides that, they're both Lakers fans.  Just keep this in mind:  Last names like Edison, Einstein, Lincoln and Jefferson come with certain restrictions when naming your child.

Another thing, if you're not sure about the spelling of a common name, don't guess.  I've known kids named "Micheal" and "Danial", and I'm sure this was due to ignorance, not creativity.

And please, people, resist the temptation to give your child a normal name with a ridiculous alternate spelling.  Your daughter Steffanny and your son Phrederrik will not only spend their entire lives spelling out those ridiculous handles for everyone, there's no chance in hell they'll be able to find a license plate for their bicycles.  Keep it simple.

Stephanie and Frederick will thank you for it later.


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Andy said...

Well sir, we have a baby due in a few weeks, and we haven't settled on a name. The list is composed entirely of names that are half Serbian cities and half car names.

Top of the list is Jago-stang. A close second is Smedillac.

We're going to throw in some random apostrophes to make it sound more Avatar like, as well.

Jenn of Many Cabbages said...

Ah yes-- Like "Shatia" I saw the other day. Um, I guess it's probably Sha-TEA-YA. I WANT it to be Sha-TEA a for her sake. I do.

But that wasn't the way I read it. The emphasis went on the first syllable and there was no going back.

Boom Boom Larew said...

Seriously, I'm naming my next kid, Poindexter... with no fancy alternative spelling... because I'm thoughtful like that.

Eva Gallant said...

What a fun post. And you're right, people should think twice about what they name their kids, keeping in mind that they have to live with it!

katy cole said...

yeah... you mean if I were going to have kids, I wouldn't want to name them Char or Lumpa

Helle Kristine Tumbridge said...

I share your opinion on ridiculous names, but a slightly unusual name never hurt anyone. Take me for instance. Helle (roughly pronounced "Hella") has done me no harm at all. I barely even foam at the mouth anymore.

middle child said...

Thank-you for that last part! I hate when people spell their kids' names wrong.

mum said...

thanks for your beautiful comments
i wish too see more of these.....

J.J. in L.A. said...

I love this post!

I once knew a man named Peter Dick. His profession? Urologist.

I know an expecting couple (in Feb.) who wanted a "unique" name. So they're naming their daughter Kennedy. Like I don't already know 15 other girls named Kennedy.

My niece (also due in Feb.) is naming her daughter, Peyton Lee. While the name IS growing on me, I can already see trouble ahead. People are going wonder (at least on paper) whether she's a boy.

Another couple named their daughter, River. Nice name, right? But their last name is Cruz. I haven't laughed that hard in ages!

What's wrong with names like Jodi...with an 'i', not a 'y'. That always bugged the CRAP out of me. ; )

cardiogirl said...

I *wanted* to name our first kid Seven, but my husband nixed it.

However she does want to be a pop star when she grows up, so maybe she can use that as her stage name.

Rahul said...

I always have preferred regal names. Like James or Elizabeth. Maybe I should just name my kid Sir Lancelot.

Best of both worlds

Tgoette said...

I have seen firsthand the damage stupid names can cause people so I swore I would never do that to my own kids.

My kids Woodstock and Wavy Gravy are probably very appreciative of that...wherever they are today.

Boom Boom Larew said...

My parents had a friend names Harold Butz... whose name provided endless minutes of mindless amusement to my brother and me. said...

Knuckles. Again - you have my wife laughing during pregnancy. Sitting into the 6th hour of induction, we are left to teh internet. This blog was SPOT on as we tempt last minute name temptations but we will resist.

With a pretty easy last name that is also a word (daly) - i keep thinking it would be funny to name the kid "Conner or Ryder" Normal names but very evil when spoken slowly with my last name.

My advice is IF you have a crazy name - save it for the middle name. Like Walt using "Danger" for his his first boy...


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