What's in a name?

I hate names parents give their kids anymore. It’s been on my nerves for awhile now. It seems as though in their mad rush to give their children cool, individualistic names, they have not only made their child a target for the rest of his/her life, but also made themselves look incredibly dumb.

An instance of this happened the other night, when I ran a story about a kid accused of theft and other dumbness. His name was Shon. Yes, that’s right. S-h-o-n. Now, I’m not saying that the traditional spelling of Sean is much better, but at least it has an excuse–it’s gaelic. Shon, however … wow … I wonder what the parents were on that day. This is just “Hooked on Phonics” meeting crack.

Another instance happened in the birth announcements, when one of my co-workers yelled out, “Addison? What the hell kind of name is Addison for a girl?” Apparently, there were two little girls named this. And they were spelled differently, too. Don’t ask. I don’t know.

This phenomena is especially rampant in the world of professional sports. I’m still waiting for the day that in the NFL draft, they proudly announce, “With their first round pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers have drafted Buglips Moore, quarterback…”

At least hockey and some baseball players have an excuse–they’re foreign.

But for our home-grown crop of poorly named people, there really isn’t any kind of an excuse. I want to slap the shit out of these parents, as well as growing numbers that are naming their children retarded names. For fuck’s sake, this is your CHILD; a human being who will (hopefully) become a functional part of society at some point and time. This is not a pet, a neighborhood stray or some critter that you see in your lawn every morning and have named.

A name carries importance, especially because in the first 5-10 seconds of meeting someone, that person has formed an opinion about you. If you are named Rotundapotimus, Floopy or McKnucklehead, do you think that’s going to carry a positive or negative stigma in the other person’s eyes? In the dog world, your pet won’t care, and the other dogs won’t care. But for your child? C’mon, use your head.

But I really love the people who give their child a traditional sounding name, and yet spell it bass-ackwards. Like our good buddy Shon. This is not cool, hip or trendy. If I’m an employer and I see that name on application, I’m going to think it’s some kind of joke. Or, more importantly, I’m likely to think that this person comes from a poor, uneducated home, and if I’m someone who stereotypes, I could be far less likely to give him a shot because of it.

Yeah, it’s prejudicial, judgemental thinking. But it happens. Daily.

Another story that comes to mind is the day that I was sitting at the optometrist, and an old woman was talking to a younger woman about her child–a curious, quiet little boy who had to be about 5. The older woman complimented her on her child, and asked what his name was.

“Neo,” the younger woman said.

“Poor kid,” I thought. “Not only are you named after a Keanu Reeves character, but also about every other anime film ever made.” And the urge to simply smack the woman rose, but quickly subsided.

Oh, and by the way, Keanu is a dumb name, too. But yet it somehow fits a person who can be regarded as a pretty talentless human being.

Now, I’m not suggesting that every child be named traditional American-style names like Bob, Chuck, Wilbur, Karen and Sue. By no means. But if you want to tag your child with an unusual name, why not do a little research into your heritage and find one that you like there. I mean, besides making you look stupid and illiterate, spelling “Bob” like “Bawb” is also incredibly lazy. Your child deserves more effort than that. Besides, it’s not like the child pops out in a day–you have months to do a little research. Get off your bulbous ass and do some.

Really, if you must give your child a cool, hip and trendy moniker, why not just use a nickname? That way, you aren’t permanently maiming your child with a horrid, horrid name. Like Neo. Or Shon. Or Snuffoluffogus. Or Hulking Weaselchunks. Or Princess Paramecium. He or she still has a chance to outgrow it, or adopt a new one later down the line.

Christ, no wonder so many kids use street names now. It’s not to confuse authorities; it’s to hide their shame.


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