Friends, parents, knowers and namers of babies! We meet once again. It's been six weeks since my last column, which is a bummer, but it's been seven months since the last baby names column, which is a damn travesty. I used to believe that we'd reached peak baby name status -- once people started giving their babies names that were just random words spelled backwards, I lost all hope -- and yet every time I go through my submissions inbox or check my hard-hitting Facebook Trending news sidebar, I discover something new that I never, ever could've dreamed up. Granted, I did include a submission in December's column that featured the name Cviiilin (that's "Caitlin" to all you traditionalists), so I wasn't exactly surprised by this:
"Truly unique" are the words to zero in on here, because many names that used to be considered "unique" are now practically commonplace. The trick is to be TRULY unique. Unfortunately for parents, though, the window for what's considered "truly" unique appears to be about three days. Someone will always share your baby name vision, whether people want to admit it or not, and that's precisely how we've arrived at the name "Nevaeh" ('Heaven' spelled backwards) being popular enough to show up in children's homework lessons:
A baffled parent sent me this screenshot with the note, "My daughter asked me to help her with her homework, and I just about chocked when I read the "name" Neveah in her math problem." Ugh. Who cares how long it takes to change the car oil -- this is what's surprising about baby names now. Not only that they exist, but that they continue to proliferate in volume and get integrated into everyday use. At this rate, we're all culpable in the baby naming charade to some extent, aren't we?
Oh, but doesn't it? If pressed, parents can justify their terrible baby name choices in ways ranging from the obvious to the inexplicable. Some will blame a name on family tradition, as though there's a Grandpa's Law that says you HAVE to name your baby after your Paw-Paw (except spell it in a way that has no historical basis whatsoever). Others say their baby's name is symbolic, giving weight to the idea that no one should judge another person's subjective experiences, but the truth is, we're all still judging. I don't care if you conceived your baby in a national park and named him "Yosemite," or if you named him after your favorite vegetable, which happens to be ocra; you still made a pretty bad call and should've dug a bit deeper. For instance, here's a comment that was left on a story about a baby who was born during a snowstorm and given the (awful) name "Wynter":
Thanks for the backstory, Shirley, but when was the last time someone was confused about the origins of the names "Autumn" and "Summer"? I'm gonna go with never.
Here's what I really want to know -- since when is it okay to saddle kids with haphazard words that have never in the history of the English language been used as forenames? It's like when Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid "Apple" in 2004, except somehow worse.
When I see something like this, I feel like we're already living in the future, Trump is President, and every child is one hot trend away from being named Kviiiilin or a series of clapping hands emoji. What else can we really expect?
This joke is a little too real. May the dictionary gods watch over us all. Let's check out some additional examples of what NOT to name your baby, unless of course you have an aching desire to be featured in one of these columns and should get to scrambling those Scrabble letters ASAP! Trust me, if you're searching for a "truly unique" baby name in 2016, you've got some serious competition waiting in the hospital wings.
1. Gun Names
Normally I block out the last names, but in this case, I blocked the "yoonique" first name to showcase the absolute wonder that is the middle and last names that create "Hollow Point." According to the submitter, this (now-two-year-old) little girl is called by her middle name, which strikes me as super fucking weird, not to mention upsetting on a very base level. We live in a country where our loved ones can be mowed down by anyone with a semi-automatic assault weapon at any time of day, in any manner of location, including elementary schools, and two dipshits decided to name their baby "Hollow" to fit with their last name "Point"? Hollow point bullets are, by definition, "designed to increase in diameter once within the target, thus maximizing tissue damage and blood loss or shock, and to remain inside the target, thereby transferring all of the kinetic energy to the target." And that's what this child's parents thought would be a badass name for her to live with for the rest of her life? Fuuuuuuuuuck you. Little Hollow's mom and dad couldn't just jerk off to gun catalogs like normal gun lovers; they had to pass on their fetish to their baby daughter. Gross.
You'd think the members of a cloth diaper Facebook page would be all, "Umm, take your weird gun baby name questions to the 'Moms Who Luv Guns' page," but no. Instead they said this:
WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE??? "Caliber is adorable"???????? RAYGUN? Beretta?? I feel like I'm living in a dystopian future where everyone not only struts around malls, daycares, airports, college campuses, and financial institutions with their deadly weapons, but also totes around cute li'l mini-mes named "Caliber" and "Holster" and "Sniper" and brags about building them "weapons funds" in lieu of "college funds." Thankfully, by the time this happens I'll be able to tap any random stranger on the shoulder and say, "Please, just put me out of my misery," and they'll be able to do that in five seconds flat!
2. A Speshul Holiday Tribute
3. It's A Natural High, Man
4. The Name Prophecy
5. Keep Your Rube Comments To Yourself.
Upon first reading this, I was struck by how suddenly my emotions shifted when I went from reading about "4 very horribly sad miscarriages," which sounds horrific, to reading the words "Greenlynned Emerald Hippo." I'm not going to say that I was left without sympathy, because the pain and sadness of 4 miscarriages will always trump the unforgivable illogicality of a terrible baby name (or three), but I will say that I was left with considerably less sympathy after getting to the name.
I was left with even less sympathy than that after reading through the second part of this submission, via a screenshot of a Go Fund Me page titled 'Help Covering Cost of Childbirth.'
6. Infinitely Annoying
But I do love the way Madison brushes off this idea that people will forever be 'mispronouncing' her daughter's name, almost as though she welcomes correcting people on a daily basis and is comfortable inflicting her daughter with the burden. Also, if she'd really wanted to get creative, she could've just named her daughter "Panthalassa" after the super ocean. It's a little less known by name than "Pangaea," and she could've spelled it or pronounced it however she liked, because no one ever wants to say that word and doesn't even care. But hey, no worries. Next kid, perhaps. There's always room for a little Panthalassa in the family. Believe it or not, the name is gender neutral.