Sunday, September 18, 2005

Baby-name nerd

I admit it. I'm a baby-name nerd. When I was a kid, I'd buy those teeny 49-cent books sold in the grocery-store checkout lanes, and I'd read through them, studying the derivation and meaning of each name, the variations (Margaret, from the Greek for pearl: Maggie, Peggy, Margarita, Meg, Margo, Marguerite, etc.). And now the Internets, they bring us so much more. There's the interactive graph thingy at Baby Name Wizard, the Social Security Administration's baby-names database, and a hilarious snarkfest mocking the ridiculous names people concoct these days.

That last link is especially juicy. From section 13 (and it takes hours to get through all the content at this site!) comes this listing of oddball spellings and associated snark: Skylar Makinzy, Jayden Mokol, Karryllinne Sweet ("I must've stared at this for five minutes before I figured out it's just Caroline."), Schuylar Daymen, Dominick Kaaynen, Duglass Link, Kenadeigh Aiden ("I never, in a million years, would have thought someone would have screwed with 'Kennedy.' Yes, caconomenology is a field of limitless suprises."), Jarret Kaylub, Nicklaus Santana. Then there are freaky names, like Celestial Rage and Gunnar Blayz, Crimson Tobias and Sloe Harlotte. Head over to this site whenever you need to laugh repeatedly. If your eyes should begin to bleed, though, please turn off your monitor.

Today in the New York Times, there was an article on baby naming trends in NYC. While Brooklyn has become the 101st most popular name for baby girls throughout the country, whaddaya know? New Yorkers, dey ain't having none of dat. In New York, names like Fatoumata (West African girl's name) and Moshe (old-school Jewish) are coming on strong, while the cockamamie naming trends that sweep the rest of the nation scarcely pop up.

Closer to home, I find that my son Benjamin's name is pretty common in yuppie circles. But in the Chicago Public Schools? There might be another Ben among the 165 kindergartners. But the Madisons and Olivias and the Dylans and Austins tend to blend in with the kids named Miguel, Reda, Oumar, Ousaf, Maham, Darion, and Tinuola. Frankly, I'm glad Ben's not traveling in the circles where there's always another kid by the same name. I grew up with such a common name, there were four of us with the same name in my tenth-grade English class. Who needs that?

Am I the only baby-name nerd here? I bet I'm not...

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Delurking to say that my Mom and I have a competition to see who can find the most obnoxious baby name in the baby announcements in our local papers. Here are three for you: I had the winner for a long time with Imagine D'Miracle but my Mom overtook me with Satyn Marrie. Yes, we're really hoping that sounds like SATIN and not the evil one. And finally, I worked with a girl who was, very proudly I might add, planning on naming her baby girl Payshence Nickole. At first I thought, what a lovely name. That is until she detailed the spelling for me. That child should never have a problem with phonetic spelling in school.

DoctorMama said...

Oh yes, the little checkout lane baby name books! With a picture of ABC blocks on them, or little booties. I used to buy them when I was, like, twelve years old, with the excuse that I needed to look up names for writing stories, but mostly I just read them. I'm afraid that my son's name would get a snarky comment on the last link. (It IS a name, and we didn't make up a cute spelling or anything, it's just an uncommon name. I'm sure it's never broken into the top 1000 names. We didn't give him a middle name, though, so that's one less thing he'll be able to hold over us when he grows up.)

cubbiegirl said...

I got really into it when my daughter was trying to pick her new name. In the end, she picked something very classic. I had an unusual last name growing up, so I'd hate to have a crazy first name.

Orange said...

Imagine D'Payshence you'd need to go through life with a name like Satyn Marrie. She'd say, "If I had a Nickole for every time someone called me Satan, it'd be a Miracle."

Cricket said...

I love names - and they frustrate the dickens out of me. I admit, I judge parents based on their kid's name. Use a top 20 fad name and my eyes glaze over.

My ex and I used to play name games in the car. For as many times we named our potential child, it was funny that we didn't even try to have a kid until 10 years into our marriage.

One angle of this SIF that hurts is not being able to put good names to use.

Feral Mom said...

Here's the worst name I ever encountered. A name almost worth a call to DCFS. One of my ex 8th graders' names?

Droffil-C.

It sounds OK when you say it, but it shore LOOKS funny, doesn't it? Turns out her dad's name is Clifford.

Bastard.

the nut said...

Wow. Some bad names up on this list. A young lady at Peanut's school is Myracle (I think).

Peanut's real name is most known as belonging to the italian poet who longed after after Isabel who also wrote _____Inferno and the Divine Comedio. If you know of whom I speak, then you'll understand my frustration when people constantly pronounce it phonetically and leave off the accent (even though the most famous owner of the name didn't have one). Even one of the nurses in the pediatricians office can't pronounce it right, but she's kinda duh anyway. This brings us back to Flea's post on spelling errors and lack of grammar education in the schools. Thank heavens I know grammar so, in turn, Peanut will, too.

(Psst, did you see his new picture? Can you see the new haircut at all?)

Lisa said...

You're not! You're not!! Ooh, pick me!!!

ahem. Yeah, ditto on the growing up with a common name lameness. And triple ditto on the fuckfaces who make up RETARDEDLY spelled names for their poor little babies..how is my stepson supposed to learn phonics if his name is spelled Dilian? The funniest part to me, is that they all think they're being so damned clever. Guess what? You're not. When everyone's been clever in the exact same way, it ceases to be clever!!!!!! sheee-it.

Melissa said...

Hi from a fellow Park Forester!

I recently went to an art fair where they had shuttle busses from the parking lot. They used school busses, and the one I rode on had those desk label things with kids' names on them all over the place.

One girl was named Takila. I wonder if her brother's name was Jack Daniel?

Ms. Sheila Whotiger said...

We had a bit of a hard time naming the kids. We wanted normal names, but not common names. It was fun though.
We once had two love birds and we named them after ourselves only backwards (like Droffil - C) and the birds killed one another, as we were recently married, this did not seem a good sign.

Stella said...

One girl was named Takila. I wonder if her brother's name was Jack Daniel?

It'd be more likely to be Jackque Daynyl ;-)

JT said...

When my dad was still directing, a mom brought her twins in for a casting call. Their names?

(wait for it)

Monique and Unique.

JT said...

P.S. I know I named my first son Jacob and it's way too trendy these days, but he's named after a family member....

Orange said...

In the news today, a 59-year-old woman evacuating from Galveston was quoted. Her name? Ldyyan Jean Jocque. Huh?

the nut said...

Peanut's classmate is Shaniya...but I could swear there's another y in there somewhere.

Scooter said...

I'm a name nerd! I run the site http://www.namenerds.com in fact. Name nerds are everywhere!