The Bard asked, “What’s in a name?” Well, these days, plenty. So when parents-to-be are shopping for a label for their forthcoming joyful event, they need to think it THROUGH!
Like, what’s it going to be SHORTENED to? William is a fine name – but in England, Willy means penis. Thus Richard needs some consideration too.
Then, what does it RHYME with? Frank is a fine name (Sinatra, my late Dad) but it rhymes with wank.
Of course, Americans delight in mispronouncing or misspelling mundane names, in order that their little bundle stands out from the crowd. But do you REALLY want your kid to be laughed at? The Laurens and Lorraines at their school may not take too kindly to L’Wren and L’Rain.
And if you just MAKE UP something – like Shavaar or Buscoyne – their peers’ll fall ABOUT!
Plus there are other pitfalls. Like, Peter Robert Arthur Thomson seems okay – until you look more closely at the INITIALS.
And then there’s the SIGNATURE they’ll be stuck with. I once knew this bloke called George Jeffery Cumber. G.J. Cumber. No problem. But if his folks had favoured Quentin, he’d have spent his life signing himself Q. Cumber. Oh and if your surname is Slicker, for gawdsake don’t name your sprog ANYTHING beginning with “R”.
Also there are special cases. Like if your surname is Jarce, don’t call your son Hugh. And if it’s Taylor, don’t call your daughter Jenny. There are a million of these – here’s a nosegay… Ben Dover, Lemme Atim, Joe King, Drew Closer, Duane Pipe, Rick O’Shea, Laurie Park, Dick Fitztitely, Gerry Mander, Lorne Mower, Roger Slowley, Buster Gutt, Terry Towl, Carrie Du Cann, Chester Drorze, Nat E. Dressa, Justin Thyme, Joss Stick, Ivor Cold, Mr E. Tripp, Walter Wallcarpeting, Mike Hunt, Winnie Baygoe, Dinah Mite, Miles Tone, Dr A. Gonbreath, Flo Choob, Dino Tiss, Albert O’Bolsom, Del E. Bellie, Meg O’Foan, Y. Knott, P.P. LaTreen, Roger Wilcoe, R.Dewars and Christal Ball. I’ve actually used all of these as pseudonyms!
But the one NOBODY can foresee is where a name becomes famous – or INfamous – AFTER it’s been given. F’rinstance…
In 1950, a Mr and Mrs Bond were trying out names for their imminent little treasure. “How about James?” “Fine.”
Except when he reached two, “Casino Royale” was published. It wasn’t a BIG deal yet – but when he hit twelve, the first film emerged. And by the time he was fourteen, the Bond phenomenon was at its PEAK.
Naturally, he figured it’d blow over eventually. Except now he’s nearly SIXTY and STILL has to endure the sniggers every time he’s asked to give his name. “My name is Bond – James Bond.” “Ah (strokes imaginary cat) ziss time you die, Mr Bond.” And as for booking a taxi, hotel room or flight – FORGET IT!
Oh and finally, if your family name is Shipman and you want your son to be doctor when he grows up – DON’T call him Harold…