Silly Names for Children and Others
Spare a thought for Chris Cross, Helen Back, Barry Cade, and Al K. Seltzer. These are just a few of the monikers that have been dumped on their children by parents who really ought to know better.
A British study in 2009 study cast its net wide: “America as you’d expect,” its authors say, “is a haven of weird and wonderful names including Anna Prentice, Annette Curtain, Bill Board, and Carrie Oakey.
“A string of people have brilliant names linked to their professions including Dr. Leslie Doctor and Dr. Thoulton Surgeon, a vet in Connecticut, Dr. Payne, a plastic surgeon in Sandusky, Ohio, Les Plack, a dentist in San Francisco, and Priti Manek, a doctor in Florida.”
Name Holders often Not Amused
The BBC interviewed several of the unfortunates who no longer appreciate their parents’ sense of humour. “Retired airman Stan Still, 76, from Cirencester, Gloucestershire, said his name had been ‘a blooming millstone around my neck my entire life.’
‘When I was in the RAF my commanding officer used to shout, ‘Stan Still, get a move on’ and roll about laughing,’ he said.
‘It got hugely boring after a while.’ ”
But, that was a long time ago Stan. Surely, we’ve put this kind of nonsense behind us by now. Nope.
2012 delivered a bunch of little tykes destined to go through life burdened with Espn, Shoog, Google, and Hippo (sure hope the last one doesn’t turn out to be a bit on the chunky side).
There’s no stopping some adoring parents. They doubled down in 2015 with Twinkle, Valkyrie, Pi, and Bobo, to mention just a few of the unfortunate choices.
Don’t Marry a Sports Fan
Many a mother has rued the day she let her husband register the newborn’s name. Clare Smith of Blacktown, Australia wrote to Take 5 magazine “We chose our daughter’s name, Lanesra, because it was unique and romantic.” Two years later, her husband fessed up; it was the name of his favourite soccer team spelled backwards. It is not known whether the Smiths on speaking terms again yet.
It gets even stranger. Eirin Isabel Iversen and her husband Tor-Eric are huge Liverpool Football Club fans in Norway. They named their daughter YNWA, pronounced Yee-Nwa. Say what? There’s a convoluted connection here. The Liverpool fans have a team song, You’ll Never Walk Alone. Hence little YeeNwa’s awful name from its initial letters.
There’s something about Liverpool fans. In 1965, the team won the Football Association Cup. That's a big deal in the U.K. The following year Paula St John Lawrence Lawler Byrne Strong Yeats Stevenson Callaghan Hunt Milne Smith Thompson Shankly Bennett Paisley O’Sullivan, made her grand entrance into the world. The proud father named the little bundle of joy after every player on the winning squad plus the manager and two assistants.
Imagine the conversation when Dad got back from registering snookums's name: “You did what?” Let’s turn away from this discussion; it looks like it might get ugly. Is that the sound of breaking crockery?
The Law Corrects Mistakes
But, cheer up munchkins, what your deranged mums and dads cursed you with can be undone.
In 2008, the case of a New Zealand girl named “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii” made headlines. Kathy Marks of The Independent reported how this turned out: “The girl, now nine, was not amused. She refused to tell anyone, even her close friends, her name. When her parents split and launched a custody battle, it came to the attention of a judge, who ordered her to be made a ward of court until her name was changed.”
Talula now has a new name but her identity is being kept a secret to protect her privacy.
The law came down on a Swedish couple in 1995 over the naming of their son. Parade Magazine quoted the couple as saying they wanted their offspring to have a name that was “full of meaning and typographically expressionistic.” That’s how they came up with Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116. The couple claimed it was pronounced “Albin,” but they were fined $735 anyway.
In English-speaking countries costly litigation isn’t needed for a name change. In Canada, the fee for a legal name change varies among provinces but is usually around $120. In the U.S., the fee ranges from $150 in Massachusetts to $435 in California.
Marriage Can Create Some Odd Names
Susan Frame from Doncaster, England wrote to the BBC with her story. “I am a lawyer. I met and married Robert who is a banker. His surname is Mee. Now we are Sue Mee, a lawyer, and Rob Mee, a banker - ironic? I have taken no end of stick for this, believe me.”
Rachel Kathryn Harr married her sweetheart, Daniel Jacob Hardy in Frederick, Maryland. The October 2006 nuptials were reported on by the Hagerstown Herald Mail as the Hardy-Harr Wedding.
A year earlier Shelby Ward and Joe Looney tied the knot in Salem, Oregon. Other regrettable blends announced in local newspapers are Poore-Sapp (South Carolina), Crapp-Beer (Wisconsin), and Seymour-Butts (Alabama)
There are many other unfortunate spousal name combinations but they are not suitable for family viewing.
- It’s not all embarrassment and inappropriate jokes. Rose Bush of Coventry, England told the BBC that she loves her name: “I always get comments about it but they are always very positive.”
- Perhaps, there’s another upside to having a strange name. People are not likely to forget you if you’re called Justin Case, Candy Barr, Tim Burr, Jo King, Barb Dwyer, or Ray Gunn. It might make up for the years of ruthless teasing children with these names will have suffered.
- “Unusual Baby Names: 50 Strange Names of 2012.” Sarah Laing, Huffington Post, December 13, 2012.
- “Weirdest Baby Names of 2015 Included Valkyrie, Madonna, Quest and D’Artagnan.” Jen Mills, Metro, December 10, 2015.
- “Parents Must Rename Girl Called Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.” Kathy Marks, The Independent, July 24, 2008.
- The Baby Named Arsenal Backwards – and other Kids who Took One for the Team.” Homa Khaleeli, The Guardian, January 6, 2016.
- “Liverpool FC Fans from Norway Name their Daughter YNWA.” Alisha Rouse, Liverpool Echo, January 23, 2015.
- “Most Unfortunate Names Revealed.” BBC News, February 25, 2009.
© 2016 Rupert Taylor