Thursday, July 15th, 2010
Advice needed: picking a boy’s name
Thinga-googler Ed is in a debate with his wife over what to name his unborn child if it comes out sporting a penis. If it has a vagina, it’ll get his mother-in-law’s name. But the penis problem has Ed vexed.
It seems some of the more interesting names you folks suggested in my Name My Baby Boy contest caused the webpages to pop up in his search results. Or maybe he saw the Top Eleven Names I Wish I Could Give my Baby Boy. I will forever regret not naming my son Flynn.
Naturally, Ed turned to me as a sympathetic, empathetic voice in his battle over little Jasper. I mean Rufus. Or maybe Roscoe. Oh, but Ed really likes Grover. And how about the timeless classic Ebenezer? Hannibal? Homer?
I’ll let Ed explain, from his abridged e-mail:
“I have come upon your blog by way of google searches involving unusual baby names. Well, the masses may categorize them as unusual, but I prefer to think of them as awesome. As a dad who seems to share some of my fondness for names off the beaten path, I was wondering if I might get your thoughts on the matter.
My wife and I are expecting our second. Our firstborn is named after six generations of males on my side. Hence his name took little argument and caused little debate.
I am pushing for names that were popular in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I like names like Jasper, Rufus, Roscoe, Grover, and Ebenezer. As the last two mentioned might indicate, the problem we’re having is perfectly good names with strong pop culture associations.
Why let Grover and Ebenezer be rendered useless by fictional characters. I suspect my son’s generation will not even know Ebenezer Scrooge or Sesame Street, so why give up on such wonderful names?
I run into similar problems with strong names from history like Hannibal and Homer. Yes, it rhymes with cannibal, but can’t we get past that? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.”
I replied to Ed with my opinion of his favored names, but my response left him feeling betrayed as our seeming kinship in eclectic names was nothing but a sham. He may have found more sympathy in my wife. She is a big fan of Wilbur and Walter.
Ed explains further:
Part of me feels compelled to rescue these strong names from their pop culture contexts.
Grover and Kermit were once fairly common names. Fast forward a couple generations, and Jim Henson grabs these once-popular names to give his soon-to-be-monstrously-popular creations. Should those names be off limits simply because of a muppet or two?
By the way, my wife already vetoed Statler and Waldorf as potential twin boys.
I still contend that Ebenezer is a phenomenal name, and a hack like Dickens shouldn’t be allowed to take it from us. It would be a fantastic four syllable companion to my monosyllabic surname, creating the same rhythm that makes Indiana Jones such a pleasing sound.
C’mon, is it really so bad to subject a child to a few Scrooge references? I know many who have suffered far greater ridicule. I recognize I’m fighting a quixotic battle, but I think it’s a worthy cause.
I have Ed’s permission to seek your counsel on the matter. What say you Thinga-readers? What’s your opinion of Jasper, Rufus, Roscoe, Grover, Ebenezer, Hannibal and Homer? What other old time names stir your interest? Unless things have changed in two years, Nymbler is the spot to brainstorm names.