WHAT’S IN A NAME?

I don’t know what parents these days are thinking. Numerous experts out there have published treatises, letters to the editor, and have even written parts of books about the impact that one’s name can have on life. Yet, despite all of this, there are still misguided new parents out there, bestowing their infants with names that could well destroy their lives.

For instance, with the advent of rap music, hip hop, and the like, there are children walking around with names like Tyranny, Fantasia, and Lourdes. Well, perhaps I made a poor choice, because Fantasia is famous, and Lourdes will never lack for anything. But still and all, I bet Fantasia is tired of people thinking of mouse ears whenever she introduces herself.

I believe that certain names leave a distinct impression. I can’t help it, but whenever I hear the names Florrie, Clementine, Hilda, or Greta, I think of obesity. I wonder if their mothers were into comfort food. And when I hear of a young man named Maurice, Hubert, or Jacques (unless he’s from Paris), I worry about his safety during recess.

So when I read that studies have been done on the socio-economic impact of certain names, I was fascinated. Some Harvard grads or Malcolm Gladwell followed the names that were popular in upper middle class families. Apparently, we want to name our children the same names that currently rich people, like Bill Gates and his friends, are choosing. Thus, names that were once all the rage among millionaires sift down gradually, until even hourly workers have children named Tiffany and Hunter.

This state of affairs forces movie stars and the wealthy to seek out other, less popular names for their children. This unfortunately has produced a whole new crop of names for the rest of us to emulate. But who wants to name their children Apple, Moses, or Satchel? And really, Bronx Mowgli? You are kidding.

I just watched a wonderful mini series about British royalty. It made me wonder how history might have been different if that wonderful royal couple had been called Alberta and Victor. Just doesn’t have the same ring to it. And if Napoleon had fallen hopelessly in love with Mildred, would their romance have been so legendary?

But, of course, my mother in law was called Jemima, and it wasn’t until after I had been married for many years that I learned that it was an old English name. I had been stuck on the maple syrup reference. And although I have never been fond of attaching a bel or bella on the end of names, everyone seems to be doing that now, too. And there seem to be so many apostrophes.

So what name would I choose if I could change mine? Let’s see. I think I would just play it safe, and go with something that everyone would like. Or at least most people. Chocoletta S’pagetti Bieber.

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