January 24, 2010
Originally published June 4, 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.
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