Caveat – all this is coming from a guy whose name can is (depending on who you talk to) an Egyptian pharaoh, an acronym for a space program or a piece of furniture (with a slightly different variation on the spelling). Trust me, I’ve been called all kinds of things and my name has been trashed pretty much every day of my life. So it may be that this rant is a way of coming to grips with the fact that my parents gave me a name that scarred me for life. Or perhaps this is just my way of informing the world that I’m sick and tired of the invented and awesomely pretentious names that people are giving their kids these days. Yeah, no one really cares but I personally have to get this out off my chest because it’s eating away at my innards and I need to release the beast.
There’s a story told of a man who died and went to heaven and the first thing his grandfather asked when he passed through the pearly gates was, ‘What did you do with my name?’ Well, that has nothing to do with my rant today other than the fact that if my uncles (I’m named after a paternal and a maternal uncle) were to ask me what I did with their names I’d probably say, ‘I did the best with what I was given.
Names are strange things. I grew up in an era when names meant something. Even the thirty or so guys in my neighborhood named ‘John’ were given that name because it was his dad’s favorite brothers name or because some dude from England colonized their village in Africa. Some people are named after a geographical location that held some deep meaning or even a spiritual awakening for them like Mecca, Sydney, Boston or Israel. Hell, name your kid ‘Back Seat’ and we generally get the idea.
There are people who are named after flowers, gems and so on and I can totally understand it. I can even understand (just a little bit) when people combine two or more names to make one name. It’s a lot like mixing hydrazine and nitric acid but I understand it. It’s a little too back-woodsy or house on wheels for my taste but it works. I’ve known a few JonWilliam’s, Jessray’s and Theodessa’s in my time. But when people start to get all mixed up and crazy naming their kids and I’m feeling like I’m either cursing in Arabic or coughing up a hair ball or trying to speak to aliens when I’m saying a kids name then I just get annoyed before I get really amused.
When we were naming our sons we went through a whole litany of requirements until we finally settled on a name that we felt fit the child. Maybe we are the weird ones. Maybe we shouldn’t have spent hours upon hours deciding on a name that would give them an identity as well as give them a link to their heritage and family (three of the primary criteria we used when selecting names for them).
Maybe we should have taken a set of magnetized letters from the alphabet that we liked, dumped them into a plastic Walmart bag and randomly pulled out letters to place on our refrigerator and called it good? Well, we tried, it didn’t work. Instead we opted for the tried and true method of naming them after people, places and things that hold special meaning and significance to us.
This brings me back to this – can you imagine what it would be like for a kid who grows up with a name like Bisquickelricks, Zimalandongalonglong, JaWanyeDior or CoralCabbageCash? When your child asks, “Mommy, daddy why did you call me Dre’Lactoris?” what are you planning on telling him/her?
I look at my name now and think, ‘Man I had it bad but that kid…that kid is going to have some serious issues.’ And when my kids grow up and have kids of their own, you can guarantee that when they are naming their kids I’m going to have some serious input at that time because I am not going to have a granddaughter with a name like ShampooLaKitty.