Last week, I came across a segment on television that focused on names. The reporter brought up the fact that the name each of us is given when we check into this world is a gift that goes with us throughout life. For that reason, she pointed out, it's especially important for parents to chose their children's names wisely.
Although I've known many folks who are disappointed with their given names, I was surprised to learn that around 50 percent of parents have expressed regret for the names they've chosen for their kids.
When I looked into this on-going name-game topic, I learned that early in the history of this country, new parents drew from a list of only around 200 names. These days, however, there has been an explosion of possible monikers for modern youngsters. In addition to the long list of names taken from the Bible - Jacob, Noah, David, Rachel - many of the old-fashioned favorites from our past are still popular - Sophia, Robert, Victoria. And every day, a new collection of lilting ethnic names grows, honoring the roots of the babies' families. Statistics now show the options for baby names include more than 100,000 entries.
For most couples, the choice of a name for the coming heir involves long and careful thought. Generally, last minute names, chosen with little forethought, tend to haunt the children through life.
I couldn't help wondering if that was the problem with the weird and/or outrageous names chosen by those in the entertainment business for their unsuspecting little ones.
Frank Zappa is a prime example of a parent selecting outlandish names for his kids. Zappa's children include Dweezel, Ahmet, Moon Unit and Diva Thin Muffin.
Penn, of Penn and Teller, named his little one Moxie Crimefighter.
Rob Morrow must have thought he had a winner when he named his child Tu Morrow.
Sylvester Stallone's baby was given the name Sage Moonblood.
Bono, who has developed his own name recognition through the years, decided his baby's name should be Memphis Eve.
Fortunately, most non-celebrity parents have enough sense - and respect for their children - to bless their little ones with names that suite the child and don't lead to future embarrassment.
Many expectant couples delve into the endless supply of baby-name books on the market, looking for the perfect designation. They are seeking a name that has a special meaning as well as one that goes well with the family name.
One friend I spoke with said that though she and her husband had wanted to name their new son Vernon, they decided to change their selection to Mark. With a last name of Davis, the first combination would have resulted in the initials of VD, while the second came out MD. When their baby becomes a man, he's sure to be grateful for their thoughtful decision.
As I've mentioned before in our Moseyin' Along travels, my mother was under pressure from my father's family to name me Josephine, after a great grandmother. But as mom sat thinking about calling her tiny new girl by the name she really detested, luck intervened. She looked out the window and saw the Joyce Lumber Company truck passing on the street. The rest, as they say, is history.
Incidentally, I've always had a special appreciation for lumber trucks. I really don't think I'd have made a good Josephine.