We’ve all been there. It’s the opening day of school and the teacher is taking attendance for the first time, which entails methodically calling out each student’s full name. The natural anxiety of the situation is only compounded for those poor kids whose parents hung them with a name that is not only unique, but downright weird.
We’ve all been there. It’s the opening day of school and the teacher is taking attendance for the first time, which entails methodically calling out each student’s full name.
The natural anxiety of the situation is only compounded for those poor kids whose parents hung them with a name that is not only unique, but downright weird.
“Is Danny Patty-melt Henley present?”
After the name is announced, a moment of silence hangs in the air as everyone processes what they just heard. Then, a tsunami of laughter rolls through the room. Order is only restored after the teacher threatens to break out her taser.
Sitting in embarrassed silence, the youngster will likely do one of two things: (1) Wonder what his parents were smoking on the day his or her name was selected; (2) Ponder what would be appropriate for this naming-rights injustice.
While for the record my middle name is “Lee,” “Patty-melt” would be far preferable to the names with which some children find themselves christened.
Last week, The Associated Press ran a story about a judge in New Zealand who stepped in and declared a 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so that her name - Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii - could be changed.
“The court is profoundly concerned about the very poor judgment which the child’s parents have shown in choosing this name,” he wrote in his ruling. “It makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and handicap, unnecessarily.”
Name registry officials in New Zealand have “blocked” a list of names that includes “Fish and Chips,” “Yeah Detroit,” “Keenan Got Lucy” and “Sex Fruit.” However, names such as “Number 16 Bus Shelter” and “Violence” have been allowed.
Another New Zealand couple wanted to name their child “4Real.” When their petition was rejected, the parents decided instead to name their son “Superman.”
Speaking of Superman, actor Nicolas Cage named his son “Kal-El,” which is Superman’s Kryptonian name. (I know, I read too many comics when I was a kid.) Cage, who changed his own name from Coppola to Cage in honor of a Marvel cartoon character, is not the only celebrity to bequeath a unique name to their child.
“Pilot Inspektor,” “Fifi Trixibelle,” “Sage Moonblood,” “Memphis Eve,” “Blue Angel,” “Rocket,” “Audio Silence,” “Moon Unit,” “Diva Thin Muffin,” “Moxie Crimefighter,” “Tu Morrow,” “Blanket,” “Kyd” and “Jermajesty” are all examples of names given children by their famous parents.
Some countries won’t allow parents to go off the deep end when naming their offspring. Denmark has a list of 7,000 approved names from which parents can choose. Mexico, Sweden and France also have restrictions on what parents can name their children.
However, in the United States, we still rely on common sense and good taste to guide parents in the selection of their children’s names.
That could explain why in the U.S. there are people who bear the names of animals (Badger, Sow and Manatee), vehicles (Camaro, Civic, Porsche and Toyota), occupations (Messenger, Poet, Spy and Writer), elements (Tin and Chlorine), trademarks (Avis, Disney, Michelob and Nike), states, days, months and seasons.
Obviously there is absolutely nothing wrong with parents wanting to give their child a unique and uncommon name. However, it is important for moms and dads to remember that it will be hard enough for their offspring to make a good name for himself or herself in this world without trying to do so saddled with a ridiculously bad name.