PICK A NAME, ANY NAME

Some snow finally fell out of the sky onto the ground and the cars and stairs and everything.  It was easy to deal with and nice to see.  It isn’t cold outside at all, and the town looks as Christmasy as a mill town possibly can.  I made tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, with cheddar jack Cheezits on the side; the ultimate in cozy meals. 

I watched a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” episode (“Horrors of Spider Island”, which served to further the very correct theory that the awesomer the title, the poorer the film) and an almost-entertaining 1976 thriller about God possessing people’s brains and telling them to shoot people (entitled, appropriately enough, “God Told Me To”) while Annie promptly fell sound asleep for several hours after eating my dangerously relaxing repast.  Now we’re intermittently gaping dumbly at “60 Minutes” in HD.  Not a program that cries out for high definition, but boy, these people’s foreheads look fantastic. 

The tree is assembled and displayed, and in spite of its spindly fakeness it adeptly cheers up the room.  I’m drinking a lot of ginger ale.  My wife bought her first pair of maternity jeans yesterday.  They have a built-in, flesh-hued girdle sort of attachment that I confess I’m a bit jealous of.  It seems snugger and less cumbersome and pinchy than a belt.  Belts are stupid.  I want girdle jeans. 

Suitable names for the baby continue to be elusive.  I almost feel like we’ll have to look at the baby once it’s out and the right name will magically make itself apparent, like how our cat Archie just “looked like an Archie”.  I don’t know.  We certainly don’t want to add to the inundation of Logans and Madisons currently overtaking day cares across the nation, but then again I don’t necessarily want to shy away from a name we like simply because it happens to be popular at the moment.  At the same time, I can’t abide giving the child a name that, while probably a fine name in theory, happens to be shared by someone I hated growing up; this condition eliminates a depressing number of possibilities. 

Names can make or break a kid.  Looking at books or websites dedicated to lists of baby names just makes me want to name the baby something ridiculous/hateful like “Walmart Gonads” to get back at him/her for putting us through the irritating and seemingly impossible task of coming up with a word and accompanying sound that lets everyone know who they are for the rest of their life.  My brother-in-law claims to be in favor of letting the child name themselves once they’re old enough to comprehend the act of naming.  This isn’t an unintriguing idea, but I find the child’s lack of a name annoying now, and the kid isn’t even out here yet.  Not to mention we’d run the risk of ending up the proud parents of Spongebob Stover.  At least it’s not “Logan”. 

Here’s some other winners the geniuses out there are naming their poor sap babies according to BabyCenter: Cash (Not only a depressing name for a child, but it’s more popular than “Jeremy” this year; I can’t help but take offense [then again you can’t exchange Jeremy for goods and/or services, or at least probably not very quality ones]), Xander (No no no, America!  That is not your child!  That is the annoying guy from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”!   The TV is not the place to get a name for your baby!  You didn’t see people back in 1992 naming their kid “Urkel”, did you?  And “Urkel” is both a less annoying name AND character than Xander!  I would be happier, America, if  “Urkel” were the 141st most popular name in this country right now, but no, that distinction belongs to “Xander”!  “Spongebob” probably really is on this list somewhere…I will not be surprised, I truly will not….Xander…grr…), Joaquin (No, you can’t have that name for your baby either, America.  That’s just for that one dude.), Londyn (I just purposefully shit my pants right this second to make a point about what a terrible name that is, that’s how much I hate that name.  You can’t just cram a letter “Y” in there and think you’re special.), Lyric (or Lyrrhyck, somewhere on the list I’m sure; anyway, P.U., am I right?), Talon (Naming your child after a bird’s hand qualifies you as a horse’s ass! [insert Phyllis Diller laugh here]), Maverick (Now you have to name your next child Goose; happy now?), Princess (I didn’t know people could give birth to kitties!  That’s adorable!), Peanut (Babycenter seems confident that this is actually the 652nd most popular name bestowed upon defenseless babies in American in 2009.  So either the website lacks credibility or the country does.  Or my whimsy tolerance is at an all-time low.  At any rate, fuck you all.), Remington (This list is full of pip-pip-cheerio names like this.  Why does everyone want their child to aspire to preppiness?  Did preppies stop being assholes at some point without my knowledge?  Do I know anything that is happening at all, anywhere?), Maxton (That’s not even anything.  That’s a random prefix paired with a random suffix.  Miketopher, anyone?  Frankvis?), Analise (I know this is a time-honored name that’s been around for generations now, but that word is basically “anal lice”…hey everyone, meet my lovely baby girl Buttbugs…), New (As a rule you don’t want a name that becomes closer to a cruelly ironic joke with each passing second; also, that’s not a name, that’s a fucking adjective)…the list, I’m sad to report, goes on.

Take a name like “Stanley”.  A fine name.  Not one we’re considering for our own child, but a perfectly acceptable, meat and potatoes kind of name.  Afternoon, Stanley.  How’s that new riding lawnmower treating you?  Glad to hear it.  Take care, Stanley.  That’s the kind of comforting, low-on-unnecessary- personal-details conversation you can have with a guy named Stanley.  It’s a name.  It works.  Guess where “Stanley” falls on Babycenter’s list.  Guess.  1031.  One thousand and thirty one.  Behind Maverick.  Behind Xzavier (not a typo).  Behind Peanut.  Behind Not, My, and The! 

Not!  My!!  THE!!!!

I don’t know, maybe this list is inaccurate, although I’m pretty sure BabyCenter is the online place to go for baby information, for whatever that’s worth.  In looking at these names, which obviously somehow aren’t considered silly and embarrassing to everyone given that kids are really getting named this stuff, it strikes me that it doesn’t take long to feel like an old person in this country.  Every few years everything seems to change just enough to make you uncomfortable, and you lash out and call everything stupid simply because it isn’t what you’re used to.  That’s a natural enough progression, and a less frightening explanation than what I really think/fear, which is we’re all turning into insane, thoughtless cartoons without even realizing it. 

On an unrelated note, we only get two channels on our TV at the moment, one of which is The CW, and I just got to watch “Cheaters” for the first time tonight.  Nice to meet you, new favorite show!

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12 Responses to “PICK A NAME, ANY NAME”

  1. I’m uncomfortable thinking about how many people know we just watched “Cheaters”. I will spend tonight’s inevitable sleepless hours (thanks, four-hour nap!) exfoliating away the shame.

  2. Just take a simple name, like Stanley, but spell it oddly: say, Sdhanleah. Or a Andrew, and spell it: Andriahu. You get the idea. Also, watch some sports (not hockey though, too many white guys with regular names) and you will come up with a name for your child: Jermichael, Demontez, etc. The list is endless. This led to many interesting conversations when we were thinking of names that usually ended in my suggestion being shot down. Anything goes these days, unfortunately.

    PS: Your snowflakes are making me dizzy.

  3. Stupid naming oughtta be classified as a form of child abuse. One of the worst, in fact, because it’s the abuse that keeps on abusing! School-aged kids are already amazing at giving people offensive nicknames based on their given names… why give them any more ammo?

    Also, naming kids for TV characters is nothing new. When I worked at the Bangor Daily, I had to type up the birth announcements sometimes, and this one time a kid’s name was Ross Chandler Smith (or whatever the last name was). Unfortunately, no one would let me leave early that night to go and punch those parents in the neck.

  4. This reminds me of a bit by Louis CK (which I am sure you are already aware of). Here’s a link, nevertheless:

    I think you should name your kid High Lord Slizeron from Outerspace. Or High Lady Slizeron from Outerspace. You could work “Stover” in there somewhere.
    High Lord Slizeron Stover from Outerspace
    Or High Lady Slizeron from Outerspace Stover.
    There are so many options.
    Or maybe Greg.

  5. I’m Dane Cook all of a sudden. Not good. I think Louis C.K. has probably exhausted all possible humorous material in the world by this point, alas. A funny man.

    Outerspace Stover has a nice ring to it.

  6. My baby name suggestion is to go with a first name that has two or three syllables. It will flow nicely with Stover.

    Jim likes Grover or Clover.

  7. First of all- Xander was awesome. Plus…eye patch! But, yeah, a stupid name in its own right.

    I always liked vaguely nature-y names (especially Autumn, Ivy, Rose, Daisy..no boy names [sorry Leaf, I mean Joachin]); it’s too bad they were all ruined by smelly hippies.

    Oh, and hey, parents…howsabout not expressing your preciousity in ways that won’t get your kids made fun of? Just an idea. (At work today, some jackass announced to the world that his [boy] child was named ‘East’.)

  8. I laughed so hard at this.

    One of my students is named Amillion Money M*****. I’m thankful that she’s going by Millie, now.

  9. And congratulations to you and Annie!

  10. Pick out two favorite older relatives [parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts etc. Name your kid after them, use the least odd sounding name as the first name [like Jean], and any more old fashioned sounding name as the middle name [like Ida]. So you end up with Jean Ida Smith. And Aunt Jean and Grammy Ida are thrilled even more than they were. And your kid has some connection with your family history, and best of all, your kid has a normal name.
    And later if your kid wants to have a special name they will have to work really hard to re-create themselves and justify the special name they make for themselves like Pink or Dr. Dre, not try to live up to the screwy name the knucklehead parents thought would be cool like Moon Unit or Dweezle.

  11. I have got problems with viewing your site properly in the newest version of Opera. It looks ok in IE6 and Firefox though.Hope you have a nice day.

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