I have a friend who is about 3 months pregnant. One of the best parts of being pregnant, from my own memory, was the picking out names. But many parents only concentrate on the fun, and forget about the responsibility.
Choosing a name for another human being is a huge responsibility that way too many people take far too lightly. Name your daughter Destiny or Cherry, and you’ve just set her up for a lifetime of stripper jokes. Give your boy a common name like John, and you’ve set him up for an identity crisis as he tries to make himself stand out from all the other Johns. When naming a child, the margin for error is huge.
Which is why I don’t understand why anyone would put that responsibly in the hands of a pregnant, hormonal woman.
Anyway, we were talking and Desdemona* confirmed that she was expecting a boy. Then she started listing off her top picks for names. Her number one choice? Applebee.
Yeah, I’m sure you have the same horror stricken look on your face right now as I did when she told me. When she noticed my look, she laughed a little.
“It’s because me and John met at Applebee’s. I figured it would be cute.”
I responded, “Yeah, it would be cute…for about 3 minutes. But when the novelty wears off, your kid would still have to spend the rest of his life with that name.”
Look people, naming a child isn’t like creating a novelty license plate. You don’t get points for creativity. Instead, you just get a little kid, with a really weird name, who grows up to be a bitter adult.
Essa Alroc isn’t my real name (shocker, right?) It actually came from a modified anagram of my own name, minus a few repetitive letters. My real name is an 18 letter monster of a thing, that while pretty, is less than practical.
When I first started writing, and realized my own incredible genius, I also realized that eventually, I might be called upon to sign one of my books or give an autograph. I had nightmares about being at a book signing, with hundreds of angry fans watching, as I took twenty minutes per customer while I signed my gigantic name. I pictured hardcover novels that had to be made 2 feet wide to fit my name.
I thought back to the frustration I had as a child, when my teacher gave “Amy Smith” a gold star because she figured out how to spell her name on the first day. It took me the majority of the first grade.
I thought about the awkward silence every time I sign a check or credit card receipt, when it takes just a little bit too long to get it done.
I thought about the frustration I feel every time I call a company to make an appointment, and need to repeat my name twice, spell it, and then repeat it again.
I thought about those obnoxious fucking government forms, where there never seems to be enough boxes to fit my name in.
I thought of all that, and I then I elected to change my name. I just wish I had thought of doing it sooner.
Parents, when naming your child, please be practical. Naming a baby isn’t just a fun chance to pick out the trendy new thing or throw a dart at a baby book. It is the single most important thing that you will give your child.
So try not to fuck it up.
* Name changed so my pregnant friend will understand what it is to have a horrible name.