Friday, March 11, 2005

What's in a Name

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Today is Middle Name Pride Day. A chance to celebrate the name you don't usually hear unless you are taking serious flak for something. If you don't have one you may be one of the fortunate few whose parents' lack of imagination spared you from a one so terrifying you deny its very existence. Like the combination to a safe, or the pin number for your bank card, people are often reluctant to divulge theirs. Others actually use their as a refuge from a poorly chosen first name.

Done right, a middle name can be worn like a badge of honour. Some names, like mine (William), are derivatives from a past family member. Some are the name of a movie or television star that the parents liked around hatching time. Others are actually from a character name of the same origins. A good friend of mine has a fantastic name based on a story from their parent's youth.

Done wrong, a bad name can be like a prison. Some parents are of the mindset that their child needs a name that is so unique that they will be applauded for their imagination, as well as giving the child a great story to begin conversations with. This is a great approach for some. This has to be done carefully though, as a poorly chosen name can follow a child like a the rest of their lives, like some kind of mutation likes, say, a tail. This is typical of a parent not thinking of their child's future before their own desire to be funky. I suggest that your duty for taking care of your child starts with the naming as it can set the precedent for how your child perceives you.

I actually know people who legally change their name as soon as they are old enough to escape the trauma of a miserable choice, possibly (read - hopefully) made while the parents were intoxicated. That is far more acceptable than the alternative, which is the simple fact that they are just plain evil.

As a public service I ask that anybody naming their child please stop by the Institute for Naming Children Humanely for the sake of their child's future sanity. It would be a shame to be a great parent who is hated because they thought it calling their son Cornelius would make him sound intelligent.

More likely it will make him a fast runner, or really good bare knuckle boxer.


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