I’ve never raised a kid, so I’m reluctant to voice my opinion about how those who actually do have them, raise them. When it comes to naming kids, however, I’m not so reticent.
Again, I’ve never actually named a kid but I did at one point pick out some great kids’ names. This was on the off chance that my wife and I might simultaneously lose our minds and decided to procreate. Fortunately, it never came to that and I still have these names (and all ancillary domain names) if anyone’s interested in buying them.
I have named a few dogs in my day, and they all had great names. I know this because, when people would ask me, “So, what’s your dog’s name?” I would tell them, and they would say, “Great name.” So, no room for debate on this point – this is science we’re talking about here.
Anyway, what prompts this meditation on naming kids is something I saw painted on the window of a minivan in Austin the other day. It’s graduation time in central Texas, and lots of matriculating seniors are receiving good wishes from family and friends in the form of messages painted on their (or, their parents’) car windows. All over town you see sentiments like “Congrats grad!” or Class of 2011 Rules!” or “Runs great – cold A/C – $500 OBO.”
But one that caught my eye Saturday said, “We (Heart) You, Anally.”
W, as the kids say, TF? Are you serious? What parent would give their precious little angel a name that a porn star would balk at? Were they aiming for Anna Lee and just completely drop the ball? And if they did mean to name her that, how is it that no one persuaded them this was really not a good idea? That name didn’t raise any red flags with anyone? Really?
Maybe whoever painted the sentiment misspelled her name. But then, what does it say when a person of high-school age doesn’t know that the number of people named “Anally” is approximately … oh, I dunno … zero? I realize Texas is pretty much the bottom of the barrel when it comes to educating our kids, but Anally? That’s not even a proper name – it’s an adverb.
And is it legal to give a kid a name like that? You can’t even get a license plate in Texas that says “BLWME” (or so I understand, anyway) but you can name a child Anally? I’m not a huge fan of the government telling grownups what they can and can’t do, but if you can’t use your license plate to speak your mind, then how is it OK to name your daughter … well, you know?
Names may not make or break a person, but you have to think they have some influence on a kid’s life path. Did Richard Chopp’s name influence his becoming a urologist? Or, under different circumstances, might he have become a mohel? And what effect did C. Goode’s name have on his going into optometry?
William Shakespeare (now, that’s a name!) questioned the value of names, and opined that a rose by any other handle would smell just as sweet. He might have had second thoughts about this one, though.