I get the whole "let's be original! our child needs to stand out from the pack!" mentality, parents of Suri, Sunday, Shiloh, Moses and Apple. But Ever Gabo? Zuma Nesta Rock? And Bronx Mowgli? Give me -- and the poor kid -- a friggin' break! Not that I am saying everyone should name his or her kid something traditional (i.e., English or Biblical -- and let's face it, there are some mighty odd names, at least by today's standards, in the Bible). Just something spellable and pronounceable, that won't give the poor kid a complex.
So herewith I give you "J.'s Rules for What Not to Name Your Child." (Note: The opinions expressed herein are J.'s and are not necessarily shared by her family or friends.)
1. Do not name your child something offensive or obsene (or just downright stupid), like "Shithead" (pronounced "Shuh-TEED") or "Loser" (though Loser turned out to be a winner, while his brother, Winner, turned out to be a loser), both cases mentioned in the book Freakonomics. In New Zealand, authorities have the right to turn down names that are openly offensive or obscene and have already said no to Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucky, Sex Fruit, Fat Boy, Satan, Adolf Hitler, and 4Real. For real. In fact, the parents of "Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii" lost custody of the child, who went by the initial "K" instead, she was so embarrassed by her name.
2. Do not name your child after a borough of the City of New York. (Yeah, I'm talking to you David and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham and you, Ashlee with two "e"s and Pete Wenz.)
3. Do not name your child after a beach. (Do you know what kind of sludge washes up onto beaches?)
4. Do not name your child after a beverage, adult or otherwise. (Does the world really need another "Budweiser" or "Zuma"? Though the parents of the latter say they named him after the beach. Though really, is a beach any better? See above.)
5. Do not name your child after a day of the week, unless you are a member of the Addams Family. (Though, okay, Tuesday -- nee Susan -- Weld was pretty cute, though she suffered a nervous breakdown at 9, started drinking heavily at 10, and tried to kill herself at 12. Are you paying attention, Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban?)
6. Do not name your child after your or anyone else's car. (Why? Do you really want to hear some guy say "Oh what a feeling to drive a Toyota" when you know he's not talking about the car? Enough said.)
7. Do not name your child after a menu item, even one from a fancy French restaurant. (Yes, I'm talking 'bout you, parents of all those "Happy Meals." And while I love a good cupcake, I do not suggest naming your child after one.)
8. Do not pick a name you can't spell, and then come up with some weird spelling that no one else can spell or pronounce. (FYI, If you, an adult, can't spell it, what makes you think your kid, his friends, and/or his teachers will?) PC Warning: The only possible exception to this rule is if you know for sure your son is going to grow up to be a professional basketball or football player in the United States. And even then, can't you cut the announcers/commentators some slack? Their job is hard enough as is.
Special note here for my Welsh and Irish/Gaelic readers: This rule does not necessarily apply to you, especially if you reside in Wales or Ireland where I assume you and other people will know how to spell your child's name, even if the rest of us don't.
I am sure if I sat here long enough, I could come up with more rules, but I need to take little Hard Day's Night Two-O shopping for some winter outerwear.
P.S. If you want to have a little fun researching baby names, try the The Baby Name Wizard, where you can "explore name trends letter by letter."
UPDATED 12:08 P.M.: I just came across this blog/web post titled "Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing: A Primer on Parent Cruelty," which is also pretty darn funny (and/or scary, depending on your point of view).
UPDATED AGAIN AT 3:55 P.M.: How could I have possibly left off Kal-el Coppola Cage, Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette, or Soleil Moon Frye, who named her children Jagger and Poet? (For more unusual celebrity baby names, click on the link.)
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