I was introduced to a child earlier this week called Lexus — yes, you heard me right, Lexus (as in the overpriced car.) It took every ounce of my very limited self-control to choke back the laughter when mom told me her kid's reverse eponym (but somehow I managed!) With a name like “Ramona,” you know I'm all for interesting and unusual nomenclature — how boring the world were be if we were all called “Jane” or “John.” But I think we've crossed a line somewhere here along the way!
It seems that folks can't just give their kids a traditional moniker anymore — they have to come up with something UNIQUE so their child will stand out in the world (I guess if you're named “Mark” or “Steve,” you just have to get by on your own merits!) Let's start with homophonics — can I just say how weary I've grown of folks intentionally over-spelling what is otherwise pronounced as an entirely normal name? Adding 12 extra letter to his handle will not make your child more “special” — all it's going to do is screw with the poor kid's understanding of phonics and confuse everyone with whom he comes into contact! An entire generation of young people named “Karryllinne,” “Andruw,” “Elyzibythe,” “Ginapher,” “Krystofer,” “Suezynn,” and “Kenadeigh” are going to spend half their lives explaining their alphabetical deviance to people. I would hate to be a first-grade teacher these days calling roll — “Mackenzie, Mykenzie, Mekenzie, Makinzy, Makynzi, Mckenzee, and Mackanzie!”
There are also a few other modern naming conventions that I find unreasonably disturbing:
Of course, people have been naming their kids after nouns for centuries — but I've noticed a bit of bias going on with our choice of taxonomy. “Daisy” and “Rose” top the list of flowers — why do you never see a child called “Venus Flytrap” or “Bladderwort?” Months like “April” and “June” are favorites, but “October” and “December” are getting the short shrift. And semi-precious stones such as “Ruby” and “Opal” sound exotic — but we tend to ignore “Quartz” and “Hematite” as options for a birth certificate. Discrimination! The same issue crops up with places — why are “Malibu,” “Arizona,” and “Florida” acceptable, but not “Rhode Island” or “Walla Walla” or “Schenectady?” And then there are those folks so passionate about their mission in life that they name their kids after relevant inanimate objects. “Rain” and “River” are popular with naturalists and eco-activists — so wouldn't it make sense for a plumber to call his kid “U-Bend” and a gynecologist to have a son named “Speculum?” Maybe those aren't “pretty” enough for a child's name. But following that logic, you have to admit that “Abbatoir” is actually a lovely lyrical word — perfect for a meat-packer's daughter!
Seriously, if any nice-sounding word is up for grabs (and folks clearly don't always care about meaning), why are some parts of the English language left out in the cold? When I was in high school, my band director told us an urban legend about a woman who read a health magazine in the labor and delivery waiting room, was inspired by the article, and subsequently named her twins (phonetically) “Si-FAHYL-us” and “Guh-NAWR-ee-uh” — actually “syphilis” and “gonorrhea.” It was meant to be a joke, but I wouldn't be surprised these days to find some poor child walking around out there named after an STD! Any “Ramona Quimby” fans out there? I (for good reason) loved these books as a child. But when Ramona called her doll “Chevrolet,” her sister Beezus said you couldn't name a doll after a car — well I actually found a child named “Impala Sedan” on the web, so I guess the rules have changed. Lexus is bad enough — but the first time I meet an American kid named “Honda” or “Toyota,” I'm expatriating!
Another misguided trend is naming children after a personality trait that you would like them to exhibit. Attempting to shape your offspring through the power of nomenclature is guaranteed to backfire — call your kid “Chastity” and you're just asking for a teen pregnancy, “Charity” is destined to be a greedy bitch, “Amity” won't have a friend in the world,” and “Felicity” will turn out moody and depressed. And it's not just the girls that get strapped with these sorts of monikers — I've seen boys named “Marvelous” (really?), “Infinite” (probably as in ways-to-get-in-trouble), “Casanova” (buy the boy some condoms), and “Dominant” (good luck disciplining him!) Even less-specific characteristics like “Destiny,” “Solace,” “Serenity,” and “Harmony” just put too much damned pressure on a kid — talk about having to live up to your name!
And then you've got the folks who doom their kids from birth by choosing any old random word, without an ounce of regard for the future playground fights that kid will have to endure thanks to a careless prenatal decision. I promise I am not making these up (they were all submitted for approval by moms-to-be at various baby-naming discussion boards on the web) — “Attica” (I personally prefer “Alcatraz”), “Banner” (???), “Palomino” (is he covered in birthmarks?), “Oleo” (you'd think a healthier choice would be “Smart Balance”), “Nadir” (at least you aren't setting the bar too high), “Karma” (is that asking for trouble or what?), “Abyss” (you stare at him and he stares back at you), and “Meander” (this child is never going to get anywhere in life.) Please don't make me have to lobby for legislation!
Of course the celebrities are the worst at baby-name picking — but you know they're usually just looking for media attention:
I'm ready for a return to more classical monikers — if anyone is interested in naming their child D'Artagnan, Othello, or Lucifer I'm prepared to back you up on it!
Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream with The Husbert and two fur-babies. Learn more at GettingOrganizedAToZ.com and RamonaCreel.com.
If you would like to reprint this page, please contact me