What’s in a Name?

OK, I've had enough with the cynical exploiting of the fact that Stephen Colbert is the number one topic in the blogosphere at the moment. I've said all I need to about Stephen Colbert. Just because mentioning Stephen Colbert means that new people might find my blog I'm not blogging about Stephen Colbert today.

Stephen Colbert.

What I really want to blog about today is how some parents make me angry because of the stupid names they choose for their kids. Now, a lot of people will say names are a personal thing and there is no right and wrong. To a degree, they're right. Names are personal – for the kid. I have a simple rule when choosing kid's names: will it get the kids beaten up at school? This is not even a recent problem – anyone remember Johnny Cash singing "A Boy Named Sue"? If you can't honestly answer that the name isn't going to result in noogies and swirlies for years on end, then you're staring down the barrel of a cheap-ass nursing home. Kids will get their revenge, it's only a matter of time.

But if you really want to make me angry, spell a name wrong. My daughter has a traditional Irish name that a lot of people seem to have a real fetish for spelling wrong. They don't spell it "differently", they don't spell it "creatively", they aren't being "individual" – they're wrong! I could spell "chair" as "Khaiyre" and that wouldn't make me creative – it would make me a bad speller.

It's bad enough calling a kid Salange, Jayleen or Shaniqua (all real names of people I've met) but spelling names wrong is opening up a world of pain. These sorts of names don't make your kid "memorable" to people, at least not in a good way. People don't remember made-up names and they don't remember how to spell misspelled names. People will end up having conversations about that go "And how about whatshername, you know, Weirdy McWeirdname."

And you get to look forward to a lot of christmases alone wondering why your kids never visit. It's because they're in bars abusing their stupid fucking parents for ruining their lives. And they're looking for the shittiest, most disease ridden nursing home in the world to lock you away in.

To end on a light note: have you ever met someone with a funny name and you realise the parent probably didn't consider it was funny? Because their parent's minds weren't as twisted as yours? I went to school with a girl called Kerry Hunt. If that isn't funny to you, look up spoonerism on Wikipedia.

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19 Comments

Filed under Colbert, General Angriness

19 responses to “What’s in a Name?

  1. Kerryn

    Ohhh, you just hit a nerve Mr Angry! I’ve given up counting the number of ways my name can be spelled incorrectly. I’ve also given up counting the number of official letters that I have received addressed to Karen even after I’ve spent 5 minutes making sure that the person who will be addressing the letter has the correct spelling.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that people are just lazy listeners or readers. And that is what shits me no end. If I make the effort to get a person’s name right surely they owe me the same, especially if the signature on the e-mail I just sent contains the correct spelling.

    By the way, your daughter will one day embrace her unique name and forgive you.

    Kerryn (and proud of it!)

  2. Yes Kerryn, naming is a very personal thing and I think your “lazy” observation is dead right. Also, maybe I didn’t make it clear, my daughter doesn’t have a unique name, just a traditional one. If you count all the stupid misspellings people like to do I think it’s actually the most popular girl’s name for her generation.

    Long story as to how she got her name but I’d wanted to use the name for a girl since the 80′s. Before it was popular. So there.

  3. Kerryn

    Fair enough. At least you have a story for her. I’ve asked my mother why she named me as she named me but she can’t tell me. And it’s not like my name will ever make the 100 top names list. There has to be a story.

  4. My kids all got simple names: Mark (the Bastard), Gina (named for my dad-Gene)(the Bastardette) and Adam(the Bastard Jr). I don’t think they will put me in the nursing home for that.

    However, they have threatened me if I ever behave like my Mom, the Grand-Bastardette. The Bastard Jr. says at the first indication he will go to tractor supply and buy a flat shovel, hit me in the face, stuff my decrepid body in a burlap bag and feed the alligators in some bayou. The Bastard says he will smother me with a pillow and give me a dirt nap. The Bastardette has not made a comment, but I’m sure she is deviously plotting my demise.

    My name is simple – Sandra. I have regularly been called Sharon or Shirley….go figure. I figure it is better than treacherous bitch, which was my name before sobriety! :-D

  5. you gotta really feel sorry for us with foreign names.

    sigh.

    its a lost battle.

    i have answered to everything under the sun…including M*&%$### : not a cuss word, just an unintelligible phrase, that i figured must be someone calling my name:p

  6. How ’bout having people say.. oh Zurry as in Suri.. TomKat’s daughter?
    NO! You fucktard! I’m 23 and she’s a week old.. I’m not named after her.
    FUCK.
    Sorry.. had to let it out of my system.

  7. Sandra: I’m glad you’re not a treasonous bitch anymore :) Sounds like you need to be on your guard to keep the assassins/offspring in line!

    Maliha: Yes, I’ve seen your problem in action. Australia is so multicultural now it’s a mistake to take anyone’s name for granted. I worked with a guy named Zbignew, people gave up and called him Sid.

    Ohhhh Zurry, that’s horrible. I hope you inflict some terrible revenge on people who do that.

  8. Why you should name your boy Sue:

    “Yeah, that’s Sue. He’s a really cool guy. There’s this one time, he had this guy, had his face down in the gutter and was just smashing his head into the curb. He had blood all over his teeth and he just keeps fucking smashing and smashing. But yeah, he’s a real cool guy, you’d like him.”

    Why you shouldn’t name your boy Sue:

    “Yeah, that’s Sue. He’s a really cool guy. There’s this one time, he had this guy, had his face down in the gutter and was just smashing his head into the curb. He had blood all over his teeth and he just keeps fucking smashing and smashing. But yeah, he’s a real cool guy, you’d like him.”

  9. Jonathan: this for the insight… it’s always good to see both sides.

  10. I know of several people with kilometric names. It must be as painful, if not more painful, than having a weird or frequently mispelled name. Ana Marie Dominique Martinique Cassandra + a three-word-long family name, for example, would be hell for a five-year-old to learn to scrawl on paper. I could just imagine a classmate’s mortification at being named Maria Dalaga Maharlika Malaya (its roughest, most literal English conversion being, Mary Girl Royal Freedom).

  11. Ah yes Chloe, Filipinos are in a league of their own when it comes to names. Whether the names go on forever, or they’re invented, or they’re some combination of words. And I don’t think I’ve seen people as fond of nicknames either. The repeated syllables like Tin-Tin and Joc-Joc, and always calling the youngest girl “baby” and the youngest boy “boy” so I end up getting introduced to a lady 20 years older than me with “This is Tita Baby.” Takes some getting used to. My favourite was a cow-orker at a previous job whose parents moved to Australia before she was born. When they got here they couldn’t decide where to live, they liked both Melbourne and Adelaide. They settled in Melbourne but paid tribute to their two favourite cities by naming their daughter Meladel!

  12. Pus

    Haa..haa..Mr. Angry. I did write once about how my name is being pronounced and why my name is such. It depends on the culture you are in. I even have some co-workers from China who picks English names, i.e. Quiet, Erresion, Tiger, Jesus, Elvis and the list can go on…
    http://dewypuspa.wordpress.com/2006/04/19/the-name-is-pus-can-or-not/

  13. Yes Pus, the way people choose to westernise their names can have some funny effects. I remember a Rugby player who moved from Fiji (I think) to play in Australia. He was so proud to play for australia when his daughter was born he gave her a name that was about a kilometre long which included “Sydney Cricket Ground” in the middle. Gotta love that.

  14. Bored Dreamer

    I recommend the book ‘Freakonomics’ by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner; there’s a good chapter on stupid names, where they originate from, and how they can basically fuck your life up in the end.

    Also, did you hear that the name that Tom Cruise’s (alleged) baby with Katy Holmes means ‘pickpocket’ in Japanese, and ‘Piss off’ in Hebrew? They apparently thought it meant ‘princess’, but it looks like they got that one wrong…

    Finally, there was an unfortunate guy at my school called Richard Heads. Think about it…

  15. Dreamer: tomkat highlight the problem with stupid names – they sound like nothing in your own language and invariably sound like something bad in another language.

  16. Ah yes, the Filipino naming process is certainly colorful enough to provide enough fodder for a very thick book. You have totally figured out that predilection for repeating names. I’ve got innumerable cousins named Ting-ting, Bam-bam, Mac-mac, and Sim-sim.
    As to the tendency to make unfortunate name combos, I actually know this girl whose name was culled after the first syllables of the three major regions of the Philippines. Her name: Luzviminda (from Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao)

  17. Hehehehe I’m sure there are several books on that topic. And speaking of writing, when are you updating your blog my friend?

  18. Pingback: Songs and Names » What’s in a Name? Angry 365 Days a Year

  19. hi there, I didn’t know where to contact you but your web design layout was off on firefox and internet explorer. Anyways, i just suscribd to your rss.

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