The name game

Written by: Suzanna

These days the question that I am asked most often is whether we’ve decided yet on a name for our little guy. (As if “Baby Palmer” wasn’t creative enough?)

Tom and I have come up with a couple of monikers that we both like but nothing we’re set on yet. The gravity of choosing a name, the right name, for our little one is to me the most weighty decision we will have to make up until he arrives. Opting for a natural birth, few immunizations, breastfeeding and the Honey Apple baby wash vs. the Melon scented one all seemed like a walk in the park compared to choosing a name.

In general, I think William Shakespeare was a pretty brilliant guy. But I have to say he missed the mark when he claimed that “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Think about it. Would Elvis Presley have become the King of Rock ‘n Roll if his name was Herman Schlump? And there must have been a reason why Hollywood’s original badass (excuse my French), changed his name from Marion Morrison to John Wayne.

I suppose there is always the argument that the man makes the name rather than the other way around. In the case of the super nerdy guy you knew in high school or the d-bag ex who has “ruined” an otherwise perfectly good nomenclature, it seems to be true. Still, I think to the question, “What’s in a name?” I would answer “A lot.”
Take my name for example. Countless social situations would have been infinitely more awkward if the person I was meeting didn’t automatically belt out ‘Oh, Susanna!’ after hearing my name. Instant icebreaker! Thanks, Mom and Dad!

Choosing my kid’s name without knowing anything about him except that he will breathe, cry and poop just doesn’t seem like enough to go on. Picking out a name is not like picking out an outfit that he’ll wear for just a couple months. In most cases, a kid is saddled for life with whatever crazy name a parent deems fitting. My mom and sister who work baby units of their community hospitals have shared an abundance of strange monikers, such as “Snow Angel,” “Mister,” and “Imaman” (sound it out: I’m-A-Man).

And then there’s the possibility that even if you choose a nice, normal name, the child may still wonder why you had it out for him. Case in point: my father. His official name is Lynn Richard Logan, but not only does he not go by Lynn (he considers it a “sissy” name), he doesn’t go by Richard either. Instead, he’s opted for a short nickname.

And there’s also all the input from family and friends to consider. My mom wants us to name the baby Jordan after a nice cashier she met at the local Sam’s Club, and my dad is hoping for a triple combo of our favorite Steelers’ players: Troy Ben Hines. Then, there is my sister, who thoughtfully thumbed through the entire Old Testament listing off possibilities, such as Boaz, Malachi and Enoch.

Call me a coward, but with so many things to consider, I think our best bet might be to wait and march Baby Palmer down to the city hall to fill out his own birth certificate once he is old enough to form a logical sentence. Sure, he may end up with a name like T-Rex, but at least he’ll only have himself to blame.

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