I recently had a daughter and one thing that struck me was the profound responsibility of naming her. I know how deeply a name can affect one’s life: my family has never been talented in the naming department. I come from a long line of people with names that constantly have to be explained. My grandfather’s name is Knight like Knight in shining amour. My grandparents named my aunt Lorryn: not Lauren, the nice Jewish girl’s name, but L-o-r-r-y-n, the name of an Appalachian spinster. Like this type of said spinster, Lorryn is controlling, addicted to carbs and is in everyone’s business all the time.
My mom, Varale was named after a typo that my grandfather made when he was working as a journalist. He was trying to type the words “Virginia Rail” and instead he typed quite by accident “Virginia R-a-l-e”. Virginia’s abbreviation is “VA” and he thought Varale was such a beautiful word he gave the name to my mother. Going through life constantly hearing and/or explaining that she was named after a typo i.e. an accident, has not helped Varale’s self-esteem. My Uncle Herb had some really bad luck. He was named Herbert after my great grandfather. It ends up that my great grandfather was actually named William but he called himself Herbert (?) I don’t know why he thought Herbert was a superior name to William, but I can imagine how different my Uncle Herb’s life would have been had he been called William. Instead of being a fat bitter kleptomaniac, he’d probably be cool and lithe like the rest of my family.
My family is not the only group of people guilty of naming their children egregious names. Celebrities have long named their children names that range from the merely inconsiderate to the downright ridiculous. A few weeks ago, Alicia Silverstone named her son Bear Blue. How is a person supposed to go through life with any dignity with the name Bear Blue? Some other horrible celebrity names: Erika Baydou named her child Seven; Penn Gillette named his child Moxie Crime Fighter; and, Gwyneth Paltrow named her child Apple. Her reason was that when her daughter was born, she was round and red like an apple. I guess I missed the boat: when my daughter was born she was bald and green, covered in her own feces and screaming at everyone. I guess by Gwyneth’s logic I should have named my daughter Henry Waxman.
Gwyneth’s story makes her and Chris Martin, her husband, sound like idiots, but I think she’s just being modest. I think Gwyneth and her ilk are being really good parents. They have amazing insight into their children’s lives. I think these celebrities know their kids are going to have it so easy that the only thing that can possibly knock them down a peg or two and make them normal people is their name. These celebrity kids are born to people who are beautiful and rich and successful. These kids run the risk of being as arrogant and out of touch as their parents, giving weight loss advice like Gwyneth’s: “the best way to lose weight is to eat whatever you want and work out with Tracy Anderson” or political advice like Sheryl Crowe’s: “the way to combat global warming is to use one square (ply) of toilet paper.”
Celebrities like Jason Lee, who named his child Pilot Inspector know that if they name their children ridiculous names they will guarantee the child will never be able to hold their head high in public. Every day will be a constant humiliation. So do not knock celebrities for naming their children ridiculous names. These people are doing the rest of us a favor, and I for one thank them for it.