06 January 2006

Baby Names

A few years ago my friend and I thought it would be a good idea to write a book about baby names. Not so much a list of baby names, more of a list of things to consider when naming a baby. I think writing a book like that is a good idea because I'm pretty sure women have babies (still trying to figure out some of the finer points) and women also love buying crap. The book could be a big seller. Also, one of the reasons I decided to go to law school was because I'm not very good at thinking of my own ideas but I am pretty good at showing other people why their ideas are stupid. So writing a book about what not to do just makes sense.

Since there is a chance we will still write the book (in the same sense that there is still a chance that I'm not fat), I'm not going to tell you everything here so you'll feel compelled to buy the book when it is published.

Here are a few of the subjects we will cover along with some thoughts on each.

Chapter 1: Your baby wasn't born a senior citizen and he or she won't be a toddler forever

Generally there are three issues with this rule. There are names that only work for kids; there are names that only work for adults (say like 35-60); and then there are names that only work for old folks.

A name that only works for a kid is Kayden. If you ever go to a professional for help (doctor, lawyer, accountant, basically anything but a sandwich artist at Subway) and the guy's name is Kayden, go somewhere else.

Brenda is a good name that won't work with kids and won't work for a senior. Brenda is a good name for a receptionist and that is about it. I have never met anyone named Brenda, so I can only hope that people have realized the problem with that name. You can see the problem with that name from 90210. They had to keep calling Brenda, Bren (or something like that).

A good example of a name reserved for seniors in Milton. Don't name your baby Milton.

Your baby will appreciate a name that can develop with them and change to their different circumstances.

Chapter 2: Avoid names that limit career options

Let the baby decide what it wants to do with its life. If you name your baby Gage he will probably end up doing construction. There isn't anything wrong with doing construction, but maybe Gage didn't want to do that and you forced it on him.

Chapter 3: You don't decide nicknames so avoid names that sound like body parts

Parents have little control over what their friends and peers call them. For example, my friend's parents wanted their kid to be called Kristopher but everyone calls him Kris. They tried to get people to call him Kristopher (it worked on me), but for the most part everyone calls him Kris.

The only control parents have for a nickname is limiting the realm of possibilities for the nicknames. If you name a kid Amos or Enis your kids will hate you and they should.

Chapter 4: Famous people and their characters

You may truly love someone famous. You may even have the restraining order to prove it. You are a parent now; you have to grow up a little bit. Don't name a baby Calista or Phoebe even if you think they are really cool names and even if you thought they were really cool names before Ally McBeal or Friends was on TV. Some names are just off limits even if you love them.

Remember that celebrities are to be mocked, not admired.

Chapter 5: Places

I have been to Cheyenne and to the Dakotas. They have one thing in common: they both suck. I don't care if names of people became names of places and you are naming the baby after the person. See the penultimate sentence of the Chapter 4 comment.

A noun is a person, place or thing. If you name your kid after a place you end up causing serious categories confusion. When you introduce Cheyenne to a group of people in Laramie they could be really confused. You see the problem.

Chapter 6: Alternate spellings

There are no points for creativity. Just spell the name like everyone else does. You shouldn't be naming the baby a name that has a bunch of accepted spellings anyway (remember Kayden?). If you don't know how to spell the name you choose, choose a different one. Even if you make a conscious decision to spell the baby's name in some crazy way, everyone will just assume you are illiterate.

Chapter 7: Literary characters

No one cares that when you were 12th grade J.D. Salinger changed the way you look at life. Don't name your kid Holden. Everyone is glad that you read, it is a skill that is vital to one's success. But your kid might think Salinger was a hack. He will forever be associated with him and hate you for it. That goes for all authors, especially Jane Austen.

Chapter 8: Consider your last name

One important thing to remember is that rhyming first and last names is a bad idea. For example, I would never name a child Fran. This might only be an issue for those of you with one syllable last names, but everyone needs to be aware of it.

It is equally important to make sure the first name/last name combo doesn't sounds like something. An example with my name would be the name Anita. It just doesn't work.

Chapter 9: Using the same letter for every kid

David St. Hubbins said it best. "It's such a fine line between stupid and clever." There was a family in our neighborhood that had seven kids and each kid's name started with K. I don't know if they were ostracized because of their names or because they all had perms (even the boys). It was probably a combination of both. But neither one did them any favors.

One of the big problems with this is that inevitably you will have to break the rule in Chapter 6 to think of a name for one of the kids.

Chapter 10: Naming your child after a quality or an attribute only means they won't have that quality or attribute

How many wholesome girls do you know named Chastity? You don't know any. Trust me on this one. Likewise, Hope will always despair; Faith won't believe a word you say; Charity will have problems with sharing. The list goes on.

If you want your daughter to grow up to be a hooker, name her Chastity. Otherwise, find something else. Maybe you could try the opposite quality or attribute and see if the rule works. Maybe name your son Cocky or something that like. That would be funny.

Well, I hope these chapters give you an idea of where we're going with the book. There are many, many more chapters that I am not including.

Naming a child shouldn't be taken lightly. If you aren't sure about a name for baby, save it for a pet.

I would be more than happy to tell you why the names you are considering are bad ideas.


Jess said...

You are wise beyond your years. If I ever have kids I will make sure to consult you before I decide on any concrete names, especially since you will be their uncle and you could mock them endlessly if I don't (perfect examples of such mocking would be Kurtward and Justincase--not that I don't mock them myself...)

Lizzy said...

How do you know what Brenda's nickname was on 90210? Sounds like someone was a fan...

This blog makes me think that maybe we shouldn't have kids. Our last name is starting us off with a disadvantage, first of all. And, from the sounds of this book, you're very, very picky. Maybe we should just get a bunch of hamsters and then I can name them whatever I want.

I LOVE hamsters.

Steady said...

kick ass entry. we're going to make tens and tens of dollars on this book. i think as our society is moving further into this century we will see a lot more futuristic names in the children of the future. i can't wait to be an old man with a hover wheelchair being spoonfed by Spacey McFutureton.

Tara said...

There was a kid in my high school named Richard Head. I am not joking. He was a nice kid, but you can imagine the agony he faced each day. Also my old roommate's uncle's friend had someone in his mom's ward named Harold Weiner. He went by Harry. I'm seriously not lying on that one. Cruel, cruel parents.

BA said...

Hamsters should all be named Lemmywinks, but rodents suck. I think a bad name is Rhea, that's my grandma's name, which leads me to my point that there are some names that just sound awful to the ear and don't work for anyone, but not for a specific reason, they just suck. So chapter 11 could be, names that just plain suck.

Informant said...

Good suggestion on chapter 11, ba. I think that can be an appendix and just be a sort of quick reference for people who don't want to read the whole book.

mel said...

hey mann... I don't know if you remember me, and it's okay if you don't, but that was a darn fine entry. I actually wanted to name my kid Kalista once (but spell it with a K), and then I decided my kid would be a tool if I did.

no joke though, I know this little boy who's name is Gage, and he's seriously the scariest little kid I've ever come across. and it's not just because I don't like kids; I swear he had the devil in him. he'd smile at me, and I would literally start shuddering and get the chills. I still do just thinkin about that little bugger....

Mrs. McDreamy said...

Thank you for your enlightenment. As I am a first time visitor, I was thrilled to see a blog that addressed a problem I face right now. So, we are trying to figure out a name that fits all your criteria, and that we actually like and I tell you it isn't easy. Everyone in the world walks up to the pregnant woman and says, "So, what are you naming her" Like it's this easy thing. It's not. I don't want to be a mean parents (and there are a lot of those out there, like Phillip McKrackin's parents) and I don't want to have a kid where people say, "what were her parents thinking" (like you do when you meet Mary and Joy Christmas). So, informant help me, help me now!

mel said...

you didn't ask for my help, but I will give it to you anyways... don't name her Melissa. there are far far too many Melissa's in this world. thank you.

Stevo said...

I once met a poor fellow who named his son Challenger. And that's all I have to say.

By the way, nice blog.

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Anonymous said...

I have a six-year-old daughter named Kalista, and I haven't had any problem with it. I get compliments on her name, and I had it picked out before Flockhart came on to the scene. Actually, Calista spelled with a K is the Greek original spelling of it. It means "most beautiful" in Greek.