Proper nouns I will not be bestowing upon my unborn child:
Buck (short for Buck-a-roo)
Vin (Not Diesel. From the Mistborn series.)
The funny part is, they’re dead serious too. My children are so thirsty to name something warm and cuddly, they forget their new baby brother will not be coming with fur (let’s hope not) or sleep in a cardboard box or stall (let’s really hope not.) This is what I get for being such a stick-in-the-mud in the pet department. Any of the above would be terribly fitting on a pony, puppy or even an SUV, but not on my little papoose. Come on guys.
I recently read an article about countries that include Iceland, Germany and Denmark who have and maintain a Personal Names Register, i.e., a long list of baby names which parents must choose from that fit their countries’ culture and grammar, complete with pronunciation rules, with the intent to “protect children from embarrassment.”
I see where they’re coming from although this would never fly in the US. Who wants to be cursed with buck teeth in the fifth grade and have his name actually be Buck? Because you know how sensitive fifth grade boys can be…If he were a cowboy, I guess that’d be kinda cool, but we live in suburbia. Buck teeth are more likely.
Who wants to be socially awkward, uncoordinated and with Coke-bottle glasses too boot and have to live up to a name like Maverick all through Jr. High? If he eventually becomes a fighter pilot and wants that as his call sign…Again, totally different story.
Or worse, the pendulum could swing the other way. What if he is super cool? What if my child is, for whatever reason, born with that intangible “it.” Swagger. Bonafide Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman circa 1967, off-the-chart coolness. And we just named him Blaze?? How would I ever expect him to maintain a shred of humility? Understand the plight of the common man? Keep him from starring in a soap opera?
No, a name has to be stable. Sturdy. A little vanilla even, ready to take on the flavor of the wonderful personality who carries it. My only beef with a name like Bilbo is that it projects onto the child what he will become (short, large hairy feet) instead of letting the person himself control the connotation, what others will think when they hear that name. He decides whether his name is cool.
And on that note, I still have no idea what to write on that birth certificate. I’ve pored over the name books, stayed after the movie’s ended in order to scan the credits, and glanced at the social security registries from the 1950’s. What a decision! I think I’ll sleep on it some more before I Google “list of SUV names.”