Gut Rumbles

June 04, 2004


I don't know what kind of statement some parents try to make when they name their children after fruit. That question puzzles me.

I grew up with the name Robert Smith. I had two strikes against me right off the bat because I have the most common name in the USA. You can't shake a got-dam bush ANYWHERE in this country without a dozen or so Robert Smiths falling out of it. Try using that name if you want to perform music on stage or write for a living. You won't exactly stand out in a crowd.

When my daughter was born, I named her Samantha because I liked the alliteration in Samantha Smith. The first name was unusual without being ridiculous and I always had a secret lust for Darren's wife on "Bewitched." I remain proud of the name I chose for her today.

When my son was born, I named him Quinton Robert Smith. That way, he could share the Robert that my grandfather, my father and I bear, but he could have a unique identity of his own. Quinton also is a fine Southern name. I'm proud of that one, too.

But I don't believe that in my wildest, drunken, dope-fueled delusions I could EVER name a child "Apple." Or "Moon Unit." Or "De Wonton." What the hell are parents thinking when they curse their children with horrible names that they'll have to lug through life like a millstone around their necks? Names count for a lot, and what you think is "cute" now may backfire later.

Face it. If someone in a Human Resources Department is sifting through a stack of job applications and sees "Rainbow," "Dewberry," "Toyota La' Trelle" and "Gary" in the mix, who do you think gets first shot at the job? It'll be Gary every time. The other names just sound too flaky. Even a Robert Smith stands a good chance when faced with competition from "Placenta," "D'Andre Lawanna Shithead" and "Blossom."

Graham Nash said "Teach Your Children Well." I say name them well first.


I went to help clean out an aunt's home after she died, her longtime housekeeper showed up to offer her condolences. She brought her granddaughter, a cute little kid whose name was "La Sonia", pronounced "Lasagna". All i could do to keep from laughing out loud. Poor kid's life is gonna be a living hell.

Posted by: og on June 4, 2004 08:42 AM

Just visited the referenced link, and the folks there seem to think naming your kid after fruit is a great idea! I'm with you Rob, I just don't get it. I guess some folks just don't have enough to do!

Posted by: Bob on June 4, 2004 09:01 AM

I loved your work with The Cure, man.

Posted by: DAve on June 4, 2004 09:08 AM

Dear Rob:

Your post made me laugh. I've encountered my own set of strange names:

-- I used to work with a man named "Oral Love". Really. I wish I hadn't made that up.

-- I went to school with two girls; one family name was "Pies", the other was "Bugg". The first named their daughter "Honey"; the second, "Ima June".

-- Years later, when I owned my business, there was a competitor of mine named "Ben Dover." His sister, Eileen, kept the books for him (it's true - I swear it!).

The kicker, however, came from a friend of mine who's an OB-GYN. She tried to talk a young lady of ethnic persuasion from giving her newborn daughter a name from her own medical chart - because she liked the way the words sounded together.

The name? "Chlamydia Urethra".

Y'know, there's a Naming Board in Austrian hospitals; mandated by law. A name cannot be given to a child if it has not been in common usage for the past 50 years, and the name would cause undue trauma to the child in later life. I LIKE this law.....


- Will

Posted by: Will on June 4, 2004 09:52 AM

Best one I've heard lately was "LaTrina". Guess her momma dreamed that one up while digging a slit trench to crap in.

Posted by: El Capitan on June 4, 2004 10:08 AM

I have a name which is unusual in the U.S., but more usual (if not exactly common) in my native Holland. I've grown up here and had to deal with having a "weird name" my whole life. Somehow it never hurt me. In fact, I kind of like having an unusual name. At least people remember me.

My children are named Nicole, Jordan, Alexis, and Megan, so I guess I didn't feel it was worth giving them unusual names, though. I agree naming kids after fruit doesn't exactly give them a helping hand.

Some personalities are better suited for unusual names than others. I think I'm kind of "different" anyway, so having a different name suits me. Someone else might not like it as much. My brother has a typical Dutch name (Jeroen) and I know he hates it; for a while he renamed himself Jerome so he could have a more usual name.

Here's the real question: How different would you be if you had a different name? Would it make you a different person?


Posted by: Ole Eichhorn on June 4, 2004 11:51 AM

I once had to phone a really nice hungarian gentleman by the name of Dr. Kunt. (I kid you not. It's on the business card. He's a metallurgist.)

It's pronounced the way you're desperately try to avoid. The receptionist took pity, after I spelled it out to her, and said they called him, and he answers to, Dr. George. (his middle name).

Now that's an unfortunate family name.

I also knew a Mr. Hoare, which is an excellent ancient british name, but all the kids of the gentlemen used their mothers maiden name, so did she.

Posted by: Fred on June 4, 2004 11:51 AM

You're not going to believe this, but when my wife was going to a school in Hattiesburg, Miss, in the seventies, she knew a girl named Clitoris. Swear to God. Her mom must have thought it had a euphonious ring.

Posted by: Bruce on June 4, 2004 12:26 PM

She has the right to name her child whatever she wants, but the name Apple really bothers me. It says, "My mom and dad are really rich and thus they think that everyone else will believe that my kitschy name isn't tacky".

I predict over the next three years that we'll be seeing a lot of babies named Apple, Banana, Orange, and of course, Fruitcake.

Posted by: sugarmama on June 4, 2004 12:36 PM

I was in high-school with the Twitty brothers...Jarr and Jugg. In the same school my sister was in class with Triangus and Delfeatus. In the Army there was a first sergeant name of Pinky Clinkscales. I figure this was his dad getting revenge, because the first sergeant's full name was Pinky Clinkscales THE THIRD!

Posted by: Mike on June 4, 2004 12:39 PM

This is sad but true. Kid ran for student office in 7th grade. Harold Weiner (what the Hell were they thinking?) Introduced as "Harry" Took a while for the laughing to stop.

Posted by: baddog on June 4, 2004 01:39 PM

Name I have truly encountered.

School friend named Crystal...not bad...unless your last name is BALL!

Orville...twin brother's name...Wilbur...yes...last name WRIGHT

Uncle's wife's maiden name...Wilma Hogg (will my hog what???)

Knew a guy who wanted to name his first born son Raisin (his last name is Hale). His wife did not find that amusing...she won.

Posted by: PatD on June 4, 2004 03:27 PM

Served in the Navy with a Ted Land, his sisters name was Allison Wanda. Hired a tree service to take down a tree in my yard... the card reads Harry Peters Chop and Drop Tree Surgeon.

Posted by: Rey on June 4, 2004 04:06 PM

Wierdest one I ever came across was a young girl with the last name of Schaeffer. First name: Kegga.

Posted by: rightisright on June 4, 2004 05:03 PM

The wife of a friend of mine volunteered in our local grammer school, and they had a pair of twins named Orangejello and Lemonjello.

Posted by: john on June 4, 2004 06:42 PM

yeah, you can't exactly perform with the name Robert Smith when the lead singer of the Cure has that name.

Posted by: girl on June 4, 2004 06:44 PM

A couple I went to high school with named McCray named their son Koz.


Posted by: wes jackson on June 4, 2004 08:11 PM

My sister went to high school with a girl named Crystal Shanda Lear. She changed it on her 18th birthday.


Posted by: Dale on June 4, 2004 08:18 PM

You forget, my man. Most HR departments are filled with diversity worshippers. Your hypothetical Gary is fucked.

Of course, my mother named me Kimberleigh, and my old man must have been on a serious bender to let that slip through the cracks. I generally keep my yap shut about others' odd names.

Posted by: Velociman on June 4, 2004 09:24 PM

OK -- can't resist (plus I want to see if you'll 'let' me post a comment yet) --

OB/GYN doc who used to be on staff at my hospital -- In Hur, MD (I shit you not)

Name a friend of mine had to dissuade a mother in SouthCentral LA from putting on her newborn's birth certificate (because it sounded pretty) -- Vagina

And then of course I went to HS with not only April Schauers but a Ginger Peachy as well.


Posted by: Marianne on June 5, 2004 04:11 AM

Well, I once met a Rotunda....and she was very rotund.

There is/was a lady in Houston named Ima Hogg. Daughter of a wealthy family, she was quite a philanthropist. Rumors persisted about a sister Youra but I'm not betting on it.

Posted by: StinKerr on June 5, 2004 04:41 AM

Named my son Satchel. I like it.

Glad I'm not Austrian.

Posted by: Jeff G on June 5, 2004 02:49 PM

Stinkerr, Ima Hogg was the daughter of Texas governor J.S. Hogg. She did NOT have a sister.

I'm betting a lot of these names are urban legends. I know the 'orangejello' and 'lemonjello' are often brought up, and always debunked.

Posted by: El Capitan on June 5, 2004 03:09 PM

Mark Lemongiello (said lemonjello) pitched for the Houston Astros in the early 80s. Nice guy. Did a lot of dumb shit. Thats NOT an urban legend.

I knew a Cosmo Evol and a Genevieve Sunshine. I currently have a friend who named her daughter Blaze (very fitting, though, she's like a bull in a china shop) and another one with a daughter named Stari Sky (she insists on Star, now, at age 11... because she is going to be one.)

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