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Sunday, January 23, 2011


(points if you can guess the movie/book the above name tag is referencing)

When I name characters I don’t really stress about it. I consider the basic stuff: Are the names phonetically difficult? Do they require some kind of special knowledge to pronounce properly? Do I want a common name? Or, do I want something unique? But I don’t obsess.

But now that I have a child on the way and I’m considering baby names, I’m approaching it another way entirely. “Over thinking” would be a gross understatement for what I’m doing. I’ve formed a partnership with GOOGLE (my wife doesn’t know it yet), and together we’re working to make sure the name we pick for my son or daughter (No, we don’t know) will not be one that has already been spoiled by others.

“Spoiled?” you ask. “How can a name be spoiled?”

Well, for some inexplicable reason, I’ve become obsessed with making sure my child won’t have to share a name with an axe-murder or other less-crazy, but similarly disappointing character.

Guess what? There are some pretty good names out there that are ruined by people who just didn’t do right by them. My top choices are gone: Thanks a lot, “Mussolini,” way to ruin it for the rest of us. You too, Kim Jung Il, way to go buddy (I was going to hyphenate it). I have several nieces and nephews with good names, but since they’re a bunch of hooligans who should probably be locked away in an underground juvenile detention center of some kind, their names, or even variations of them, are off the list!

You might be thinking, “C’mon, every name has a bad person associated with it.” Well, believe it or not, there are a few parents out there who’ve managed to pull it off!

Movie star, Nicolas Cage managed it. I imagine Mr. Cage wanted a name that was strong and reflected the kind of person he hoped his kid would emulate. Well, he might have overshot a bit but I applaud his effort. He named his son “Kal-el.” For those of you who are not comic book nerds, or fans of all things Superman, Kal El is the Kryptonian first and last name of Clark Kent.

I’m sure a movie star’s kid can pull it off, so good luck little Kal-el. But my kid? Nope. I’m not convinced I have the fatherly-skills to help my kid pull a name like that off. The best I could do is maybe train them to get changed in a phone booth. Now that I think of it, I’ll probably do that no matter what name I use.

Got any good ideas for names? Heard any really strange ones?


Alisha said...

Princess Bride!!!!
The book was written by William Goldman.

Except there are few difference's between the movie and the book, but bother a super duper good.

I've grown quite fond of the name Embry (boy) over the last few weeks :)

If you have a girl you can always name is Alisha lol it's a good strong name.

Steven Whibley said...

*Bing bing bing*
Indeed! The Princess Bride is the correct answer. That's one of my favorite lines in the movie. I actually read the book not too long ago and wasn't sure if it would be as good as the movie, but it ended up being better. Very nice surprise.

Your prize for answering correctly is 10 points. I'm not sure if you can redeem those points for anything, but they're yours all the same! Congrats :)

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