Monday, July 14, 2008

Baby names

Okay, I'm bound to upset some people with this one, but here goes...I think that most people are pretty dumb when it comes to naming their children.

Now, I often joke to my wife that if we ever have a son, we should name him "Fabio Francisco Lando Johnson." Go ahead, say it out loud. Kinda rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Okay, yeah - it's silly. But is it any worse than some of the names that people usually go for?

Of course, I could go on and on about celebrities who name their kids "Apple" or "Rutabega" or whatever. That's too easy. However, I would like to point out that nothing says, "I'm a douche" more than naming your son "Miller Lyte." Apparently, that's what some usually shirtless celebrity's brother named his son. Holy crap. I guess he wanted to let people know that he has shitty taste in both beer and baby names in one fell swoop - oh, and that he's illiterate too. Mission accomplished. To be fair, his parents named him "Rooster." How much hope did he have? What will Rooster's grandson be named? Applebee's? New Coke? Dog shit?

Kirsti and I might have to do some baby naming soon, so don't think that we haven't been discussing this sort of thing. We have a few names in mind, the leading contenders being "MP3", "Spock", and "Taco". Just kidding. The trick is to come up with a name that sounds different, but not so different that people go: "What?" Now, we might wind up with a baby who already has a name - and part of us thinks that we shouldn't rename her - as she should have something from her birth parents that she keeps forever. We might change our minds if her name is something like "AC Adapter" though.

According to the Social Security Administration, the top ten baby girl names are: Emily, Isabella, Emma, Ava, Madison, Sophia, Olivia, Abigail, Hannah, and Elizabeth. Many of those are wonderful, lovely names, but as far as I'm concerned, they are all off the table. See, to me, the whole reason why you'd look at a list of popular baby names is so you know which ones to avoid. Why would you want to call your kid a name that a lot of other people have?

I'm pretty grateful that my parents went for "Lance". It's different, but it's not weird. All throughout school, I was always the only Lance in class. (Except for one year in college, where it was a huge class and there were TWO other people with my name!) Apparently, my mother wanted to call me "Lancelot," which my dad shot down, if I remember the story correctly. I believe that there were some other, more Germanic names floating around as well like "Sven," "Wotan" and "Siegfried and Roy".

Take it from me - I'm a teacher. It gets confusing when there are three Caitlins in the class (but trust me, Caitlin is a lovely name) and it doesn't matter that one spells it "Kaitlin", another spells it "Katelyn", and the third spells it "Gahetluhynx". It also doesn't help that all three of them go by "Katie" for short. Why would you want to do that to your child?

And let's not forget that if I have a son and name him "Lance Christian Johnson, Jr." that I deserve to be bitch-slapped until doomsday. Also, if he winds up having a son named "Lance Christian Johnson, III" then he deserves to be put in the iron maiden. Yeah, I'm saying it - calling your son your name is basically your way of saying, "Not only am I totally full of my own self-importance, but I'm too fucking lazy to think of anything." Look, unless you're the king of a nation, you look like an ass when you do that.

Naming a baby is hard - granted. It's tough to strike that balance between normality and uniqueness. But dammit, at least give it a little effort.

18 comments:

The Ranting Student said...

Ahh! Your posts always make me laugh.

Well... Old sounding names are always nice...

..or, how about... Pharyngula? No...to PZ Myer Scientish...

The Skeptical Sorcerer said...

Much agreed, the best names are the ones that are somewhere in between overused and something weird that would get a kid beat up. Regarding the "Catlin" that spells it "Gahetluhynx", that craziness is all too true. I think it's the product of parents who tried to find that boring vs. weird balance but missed the point. My name is generic (Megan) and you can spell that one too many different ways.

Milo said...

We violated just about every one of your rules with naming our three children. They've grown up only mildly damaged despite one having an unusual name, one being the III, and one having an extremely popular girls name. Poor kids! Oh, well, a rose by any other name would smell as sweet....

How about a baby naming contest and the person who submits the winning name get a prize?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

You named your kid Applebee's III but spelled it Uhpfehlbeig'z III?

Weemaryanne said...

I dislike names that sound cute on a little girl, dubious on a teenager, and ridiculous on a grown woman. "Amber" heads that list.

I'm voting for "Naomi," just because it's one of the few Old Testament names that I like.

billeter said...

You should name the baby
Billeter Is Great Johnson.
Then her nickname can be
"Big" Johnson.

That would be awesome

Milo said...

How did you guess???!!!

Now, how do you feel about the name Raymonda?

Lance Christian Johnson said...

Milo,

Now, how do you feel about the name Raymonda?

Sounds nice - and hey, don't take my ranting too seriously. With the exception of my comments about calling your son "Miller Lyte", it's all just me running at the mouth. I'm sure there are plenty of decent people out there who name their kids MP3 III.

Anonymous said...

Nice. Complain about IIIs with your name. What? Johnson is OK, but Johngrandson is thtupid?

How about Spear Sikh Johnson? Is that an acceptable balance between being different while still holding on to a hint of egomania?

-The Jakes

Dan said...

Yeah, I agree with you on those who need to name their first born son after themselves - you deserve a good kick in the nuts if you are narcissistic enough to do so...

I think that most of us share a handful of very common names anyway, even ones that are not on the Social Security Admin list. I have a very common name according to the list, but I cannot ever remember it being an issue. I think it is more important to pick a name that others will not tease your child about (Miller Lyte, Chris Cross, MP3, etc...). My advice is to have fun with the whole process of picking a name and don't think about it TOO much.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

My advice is to have fun with the whole process of picking a name and don't think about it TOO much.

You're probably right. Because let's face it, even if you did name your child MP3, he or she can still be a happy, functional person.

MP3...hmmm...

Clostridiophile said...

Ray Comfort Johnson...or Banana Cameron Johnson. Thank me later, I just covered you for TWO kids. Get back to beer making now, and send me some!

Kirsti said...

"MP3...hmmm..."

Don't even think about it!

Anonymous said...

     Well, I don't think "junior" is too terrible (even if it is a bit lazy;) but calling some "III," "IV," "V," etc. just sounds stuffy. I suppose you could go with "Astraea" for a girl's name though.

Dan said...

You may want to consider "Soda" or "Seven."
Maddy says she likes "Shmoopie..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRUdaWZ4FN0

Kirsti said...

Oh, Dan...don't encourage him! =)

Although, I think Maddy may be on to something...

sfben22 said...

I always thought it would be fun to skip "Jr." which I don't like, and go straight through to "the Third". No III, just "The Third". I am not a "Jr." but I thought t would have been fun to name my son "Ben The Third".

Anonymous said...

Here's some names to avoid if you plan on moving to New Zealand

-The Jakes