|Jinny has been very ill and is currently undergoing rehabilitation in a Bangor facility so she will not be writing her article for awhile. She is making excellent progress and hopes to be able to return to writing her column in the near future... Adele.
William Shakespeare asked, "What's in a name?" Obviously, not a lot, unless you have one that either gets you teased or makes people laugh, then there is a whole lot more in a name than you might want.
Modern parents seem to have become bored with traditional names because many young people and children that I have met seem to have either last names that have become first names, or names that are obviously invented from scratch.
I once had a student named Neffertitti. Not only was it spelled wrong, but it was quite a name to try and live up to since the famous bust of that Egyptian Queen is considered a representation of incredible beauty. The poor girl who was saddled with this name was about 5'8", weighed roughly 250, and didn't look any more like the famous beauty than I do. In fact, she lumbered about with a permanent snarl on her face, a phenomenon I attributed to being cursed with a moniker that could only succeed in highlighting her less admirable physical qualities. I'd snarl too.
When I was in the army I had a bunk mate from Texas who had skin as white as milk and flaming red hair. Her parents, in a moment of extreme redundancy, named her Ginger. Her last name was Hale. Naturally, they felt it necessary to give her the middle name of Ale. Ginger Ale Hale. It was a hoot.
I had another student whose last name was Light. There are a lot of choices with that as a last name. They chose to name him Bud. He had a brother named Miller. What would they have named a girl, Ultra Violet? White? Candle? Michelob? I could go on for a long time on that one.
I have met lots of girls who were given traditional boy's names. I know girls named Michael, Owen, Taylor, Parker, and Charlie. This always strikes me as a terribly unfair thing to do to boys, since they can't easily retaliate by stealing girl names without the expectation of torment and ridicule. On the other hand, I have come across guys with made up names that could easily be mistaken for a girl's name such as Dwonna, Kysha, Deshwonne, LaKola, etc. Imagine that you are someone who has to call up someone you have never met who is named Dwonna, Wouldn't you assume that it was a woman? You could find yourself in a rather embarrassing situation if you were to ask for Ms. Dwonna, not realizing that the lady in question was a 6'2" guy with 'Kill First, Ask Questions Later', tattooed on his back.
People will name their children after the most bizarre things. I have a terribly nice young man who works for me who is named Herve, after the actor who was on the old show, 'Fantasy Island; the one that pointed up in the sky and said, "The plane, the plane." Bless the little fellow, I have nothing against him, but I can hardly imagine naming my child after him; if I loved the show that much I think I would have gone with Ricardo instead. I met a young man named Kilpatrick whose mother named him James Kirk Kilpatrick after the Star Trek Captain of the same name. My brothers had a friend named Russell who was named for the street on which he was born when his mother didn't make it to the hospital on time. He was lucky because the next street over was called Daisy Lane. There is an actor on television named Rainbow. I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing that his parents were flower children during the 60's. Slapping the name 'Rainbow' on anyone seems kind of rotten, particularly on a boy. I can imagine the poor guy in 6th grade being called Rainbow Bright by all the guys in the locker room. The actor is obviously of mixed race, hence the name 'Rainbow' although to be perfectly honest with you, I've have never personally met anyone of any race, mixed or otherwise who was the color of anything you find in a rainbow. Except for silly guys who paint themselves their team colors and go shirtless in subzero temperatures at football games, and they're are more liked mixed nuts.
We seem to go through periods of fad names. When I was young every other girl was named Debbie or Cathy or Cindy. A lot of boys were named Mark or Tony or Andy. There was a period where you came across many Brittany's and Courtney's. For boys it was the plethora of 'J' names like Joshua or Jared or Jacob. I wanted to name my oldest son Julian, after the Roman Emperor, but I projected into the future and imagined him being teased and called 'Julie' by a bunch of nasty boys, so I named him James. I decided to name all my kids after kings and queens in the hopes that it might give them a leg up, although I have yet to see any evidence that it has worked. It was worth a try.
The bottom line is that we should be careful about what we name our children and remember that they have to make it through childhood and adolescence with whatever we have thrust upon them. All in all, it might not be a good idea to name your kid Rainbow.