Monday, March 30, 2015



baby feet 3
Flickr Credit: nichole
It’s interesting to look up names on the internet, because you can do it a couple of ways.

There’s the baby name sites, and that is where you find the most precious name for your coming newborn—something classy, maybe with a symbolic meaning or a tie to your family’s past. Nothing that will get your child teased, nothing too strange, something beautiful.

And then there’s Urban Dictionary. Look up your name. You will learn that a lot of other people have some things to say about that name—they’ve known some good ones and they’ve known some bad ones and whoo, there’s some strong language to be said about either.

It’s said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Cute, but no.

I mean, sure. If we lived in a universe where roses were called ugleshruffs and always had been, no one would question it. But we come with culture, background, history, memory, connotation, past.

I notice that the name Adolf fell in popularity, after World War II.

I notice that the name Khaleesi has risen with Game of Thrones.

I notice that when I hear the name Max I almost exclusively think of a big dog licking Ariel and an evil villain who lives in a volcano and whispers beautiful plots across the sea.

I notice that when I hear the name Gertrude I think of cookies and soft hands, baking banana bread and rough carpet on my cheeks as I played with plastic bowling supplies and an ancient TV set while Christopher Lloyd sings “In the Dark of the Night” and I build with wooden blocks on the floor with my cousin.

I notice that my parents have forbidden us to name any of their grandchildren after a coworker who stole from the company.

We think of a name, we think of a fascist dictator. A mother of dragons. A dog. A villain. A grandma. A thief.

Perhaps the rose would smell as sweet, but would we want to touch it? Would we want to put our babies in the cage with the Incredibly Deadly Viper? Would we want to remember the death, the pain, the suffering, the anger, the hatred, the retribution?

What’s in a name? We call our babies Mary, but you’re harder-pressed to find a Lucretia. Search the Internet. Find out. What’s in yours?

No comments:

Post a Comment