Monday, February 8, 2010

what's in a name

I have spent many, many hours recently doing filing for my LSH's office, and it is quite interesting the way names are so indicative of a generation. If I see "Jane" or "Mary", for example, I know that the person is going to be of a certain age. "Ashley/Ashleigh", on the other hand, is in her late teens; "Katelyn/Caitlin" is probably around Primo's age; and "Kyley/Caylie" is definitely in Terzo's class (as a matter of fact, he has two in his classroom). Of course there are exceptions to these generalizations, which add the occassional note of interest to an otherwise dull-as-dishwater task, but it is pretty interesting how they break more or less rigidly along generational lines.

When my eyes start to cross, I head over to "Baby's Named a Bad Bad Thing" for some comic relief. This blogger lurks on baby-naming boards and has used actual submissions to launch a one-woman campaign against the overuse of the letter "Y" (Krystyl, Trystyn), made-up names (Aemelozina (but they'll call her Molly!), Oleo, Zavary, Kakinston) and too many middle names (Hunter Maverick Maarten, Xev Chiana Louise). From my time spent on similar websites when I was pregnant with Secondo and stuck on bedrest with too much time on my hands, I can vouch for the authentic ring of 99% of these posts, unfortunately for the poor children.

I highly recommend reading a few of her entries if you have had a bad day, especially at the hands of someone named Mackenzie. One entry:

Submission to board: As a person of Scottish descent, I am just curious - are all you ladies naming your daughters Mackenzie (or Mykenzie, or Makenzy, etc) out of some loyalty to Scotland? Or perhaps just a love for haggis? Just curious.

Reply from blogger: Do you honestly think someone naming their daughter Makenzy could find Scotland on a map?

Or another:

Submisssion to board: I'm thinking about naming my baby "Zannia Amari Smith", but whenever I tell people other than my family they just look at me and say "thats different".

Reply from blogger: I guess people are put off by weird names like Smith.

Or yet another (because it was a long day filing!):

Submission to board: I am not pregnant yet but thinking about names...I just thought of the name Lourdes Solange. This baby will be 75% latina and 15% european :)

Reply from blogger: ...and 10% polyester.

But this one has got to be a joke.

Submission to board: How about Lou? When I was in England, I heard that name and it seemed to have a little tinkle to it. Randy is good too.

The juxtaposition of "lou" and "tinkle" cannot be an accident. But given all the time I spend in adolescent and pre-adolescent boy company -- not to mention filing all those papers -- of course I found this absolutely hilarious. I need to get back to knitting.

1 comment: