The Wild Side —Choosing a Boring Baby Name

I collect them with glee. Names like Zoe Bowie, the daughter of singer/actor David Bowie, or Atomic Zagnut Adams, the real life son of Patch Adams, the character in the eponymous film played by Robin Williams. How dare they, I wonder, give their children such fantastical names? And what do their children feel about living with those names once past the stage where their most purposeful communication consists of blowing a raspberry?


My sister once worked up a list of silly names she planned to bestow upon her hapless offspring, and I marveled at her cunning derringdo. If Margery had twin daughters she planned to call them: Polly Esther and Polly Ethylene. Forget the fact that both girls would need to be called by both first and middle names to distinguish them one from the other, didn't Margery worry about soliciting the undying, eternal hatred of not one, but two daughters?

I was not just disappointed, but bored to tears...


I waited with baited breath when her first daughter, a girl, was born. Which name would she choose: Polly Esther, or Polly Ethylene? It was, um, neither. It is an unfortunate fact of life that sisters grow up and disappoint those who expected more from them. My niece was named Davida. When I heard that white bread name, I was not just disappointed but bored to tears.

Loss of respect

I lost a great deal of respect for my older sister on the day my niece was born. Margie busted a legend I had long held dear. On the other hand, she did just what I intended to do: give my children respectable, yet humdrum names, for I never considered the idea that I would give my own children any but the most common names. I dreaded their growing up, as I did, with, for instance, the initials: BM.


I told my peers that BM stood for Batman, that if they didn't stop taunting me, he'd get insulted and come and beat them up. But they just laughed and called out, "BM, BM," louder and louder, until I turned away so they wouldn't watch me dissolve into tears.


I would not do this to my children, I vowed then and there. Years later, I examined the names I gave my children in and out and backwards, in an effort that their names, nicknames, and initials, escape all notice of their schoolmates.


So let Bob Geldof name his daughter, Fifi Trixibelle. Let Frank Zappa name his daughter, Diva Muffin. I collect their names with voyeuristic pleasure, but me, well, I'll stick to names like good old, plain Jane. Let 'em grow up and cry to me that I gave them boring. Thank me, that's what they should do!



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