Name Calling

Hajar Hamalaw, a 28 year old German journalist living in Iraq, had his wishes overridden when he tried to register his son under the name of ‘Wikileaks.’ Imagine the child having to give his name as ‘Wikileaks Hamalaw!’ What if his name were shortened to just, ‘Leaks?’

According to the father, the renowned site, ‘changed the world,’ and he was no doubt, envisioning his son would be instrumental in changing the world. I can think of several leaders who changed the world in a drastic manner, but we won’t go there.

All parents, including those who adopt, have a moral, sensible, and responsible and I repeat, responsible duty to think, not once or twice, but umpteen times about the names they select for their child. After all, that moniker they’ve dubbed upon the vulnerable baby will most likely, be there for the entire life of the child.

Sure, the name can be changed by deed-poll but that can only take place when the unfortunate kid reaches ‘adult’ status and can make responsible decisions for him or herself. Up until then however, the child is stuck with a name that he/she has been given.

Your average Joe can almost be forgiven for picking an outlandish name for his child, as he has a lot more to contend with in being … well … average, non-descript, normal, ordinary, usual or regular. In announcing his child’s name as ‘Zeus,’ for example, he has his moment of glory as the newly-crowned father of a Greek mythological god.

Public figures, famous or infamous people and Hollywood stars, however, have a moral and parental duty, to fight the urge to call their off springs, bizarre and peculiar names. Some latest examples: Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green naming their son, Bodhi Ransom; not to be outdone, racing king, Mark Webber and Teresa Palmer named their son, Bodhi Rain; and Gwen Stafani and Gavin Rossdale have sons Kingston and Zuma, and have called their latest addition, Apollo Bowie.

Jools, wife of culinary chef Jamie Oliver, may have eaten too much of his cooking given the names she chose for their brood. Their fourth child and only son is Buddy Bear, while his sisters are called Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo and Blossom Rainbow.

Television comedian Jason Lee of ‘My name is Earl,’ series, tops the list after calling his son, ‘Pilot Inspektor.’ That is his spelling folks! It seems, Jason was inspired by band Grandaddy’s song entitled, ‘He’s Simple, He’s Dumb, He’s the Pilot.’

Perhaps the above can take a leaf out of Australian megastar, Chris Hemsworth and wife, Elsa Pataky’s book, after they named their twins, Tristan and Sasha. Even Simon Cowell and partner Lauren Silverman chose regular names, Eric Philip for their son.

Is it perhaps too tame and boring to name your progeny George like Prince William and Kate have? While the royal family have yet to buck the system, it would cause a right royal stir if names like, Blanket (no prize for this one), Apple, Sunday, Coco or Tiger Lily were introduced into the family tree.

Although it can be noted that the aforementioned names are all spelled in correct English, imagine the mayhem and downright angst for those with deliberately and quirkily spelled names.

Take for example, Jaxon in place of Jackson; Shantel (Chantelle); Locklan (Lachlan); Sofie (Sophie); Laelah (Layla), Jayne (Jane), Allen (Alan), Oskar (Oscar), to name a few. Did I mention ‘angst?’ Yes, the children with their, ‘original,’ names, have the misfortune of always, and I mean ALWAYS, having to spell or correct the spelling of their names. And they have the added misery of never finding their ‘creative,’ spelling on chains, nametags, door plaques, keychains; pens/pencils, erasers, bracelets, placemats, mugs, plates et al. Parents, please take note!

There are certain guidelines that parents can follow and in some instances, should follow, in choosing their children’s’ names. Once the list of baby names have been reduced to two or three options, try putting the name together with the surname before announcing and legalising it on paper. Remember also, a diminutive of the first name can alter the intent when put together with the surname.

The following names, belonging to real people were found through the internet: Al Bino, Ben Dover, Alf A. Romeo, Dick Felt, Daisy Picking, Warren Peace, Helen Back, Christian Guy, Mona Lott, Luke Warm and Nortei Nortey. Pay attention as well to initials just before the surname, as these unfortunate owners have discovered, P. Ennis, S. Hitchin and Chris P. Bacon.

There are some who are both amused and proud of their names and they do bring a chuckle when you hear them: Paige Turner, Jo King, Rose Bush, Candy Barr, Hazel Nutt and finally Sue Mee, a lawyer who is married to a banker named Rob Mee. I can honestly add my former boss’ name to the list (hope she doesn’t read this) as she was named, ‘Penny Lane,’ but very happily changed it when she got married.

In a BBC news report, Stanley Still, 76 and retired from the British air force, spoke about his name being, ‘a blooming millstone around my neck my entire life’. His commanding officer, much to his own enjoyment would shout out, ‘Stan Still, get a move on!’ Stan found it, ‘hugely boring after a while.’

While the aforementioned examples can bring mirth, some names can be difficult and at times, even psychologically unsound to be saddled with. Do think carefully when you have the power to make or break your child’s future, in selecting their names.

© Wendy Robinson 2014

There is tremendous life and personality in a name. It should be at least as agonized over as any character trait. ~ Travis Beachem


Comments on: "Name Calling" (8)

  1. Gerry OConnor said:

    A good article for parents to read.  Best to name their kids simple and well known names – so not to embarrass the kids when they grow up and have to bear with the outlandish names their parents gave them !



  2. Great post, Wendy!


  3. This was a wildly entertaining read! Your research on the topic is most impressive! I’m grateful that my parents gave me a name that is unique but not ridiculous. I feel so bad for some of those kids. Growing up, even children with typical names are teased. So, to name your child Dick Felt or P. Ennis is almost cruel. This is such an interesting article. I’ll be sure to bring up with my friends tonight! 🙂


  4. How did I miss this???? I came here to check up on why things are so quiet with you and I thought I was going to see your last post with St Patricks birth but instead found this! Very well written– perfect style and tone and just an all around great piece that should be mandatorily handed out in hospitals with birth certificates! Miss you and hope all is well!

    Liked by 1 person

    • So nice to hear from you M/s S. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. I’ve been in Paris and London and am now in the magical Yorkshire area – the land of Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters et al. Will email when I get back and hopefully get back in the swing of posting. Or, as my kids are wont to spout, ‘beatings,’ will be in order. Lol!


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