For the past week, all internet signs have been pointing me in the direction of this column. Granted, I write a baby names post every year on Mommyish — updating, discussing, and yes, mocking, the latest trends in baby names — but for the past several days, I’ve felt like the whole internet was shouting at me, “The 2014 baby name column must be written NOWWWW!” Maybe it was the Toothpaste For Dinner comic strip that came my way at the top of the week, or the Someecards post ‘8 Baby Naming Books That Should Totally Exist’ (seriously, most of these books SHOULD totally exist) that made the rounds mid-week that got the wheels turning in my mind — but mostly it was the messages I got on Twitter. For some reason this week I’ve received several tweets about baby names, and they all pretty much indicate that the naming trends apocalypse burns ever-brighter. To put it mildly, this shit is out of control.
When I asked Ashley how she knows how the kids’ names are spelled (thinking that perhaps an employee gave their cups the “Starbucks name treatment”), she said, “They’re embroidered on matching lunch bags. I’d hoped they were brands of lunch bag, but was sorely disillusioned after hearing, ‘Phillie, share your latte with BrewBrew.” Soooo yeah that’s just about the most obnoxious thing I can imagine. Well done, Starbucks mom. You embody precisely what this annual column is about.
Before we take a look at just a few of the dozens of baby name submissions I’ve received since last year’s column, allow me to say that I know that making fun of a name is lowbrow humor. The world is full of a beautiful range of diverse people, and celebrating those differences is what life is all about, yoonique names included. That being said, this decade-long tide of absurd names (due either to the name itself, the spelling, the pronunciation, or some combination thereof) is awash with stupidity. The overeagerness some people display to have the koolest kidd on the blahk is more than apparent, and the difficulties those kids will have in life are far more punishing than any column I could ever write. And I’m not even talking about bullying — I’m just talking about the grueling exercise of having to spell out one’s name 10000000 times in a lifetime for any number of reasons, not to mention the 10000000 times someone else will read a roll call comprised of names that quite literally make no fucking sense. Yes, every name must originate somewhere, and no one is advocating for more Johns or Janes, but adding an unnecessary ‘x’, ‘y’, or ‘z’ to a name — or coming up with a new name altogether — doesn’t actually help a kid look good. It just makes his/her parents look bad.
Now, let’s get on with that roll call for a new generation!