Let’s make a small wager: Four canines named Molly live within a mile of your house.
Do you know why half the dog population answers to Molly? I have a trickle-down theory --After five or ten years, popular baby names make a downward spiral to the wet nose trade. For example, recently I’ve shaken as many hands of golden labs as college grads named Megan.
Apparently, for the next decade when we meet a child, an educated guess should pin it with an Emily or a Jacob. Call either name twenty years from now and you’ll be looking at the business end of a Labrador with a tennis ball.
It’s funny how most parents think their child is special, yet insist on labeling it with the most currently common name. Baby-name books are huge sellers, we all give them at showers, but apparently never bothered to open the cover and discover there’s only one page. “Great Baby Names 2004. Page 1: Emma.”
Want your kid to stand out at birth? How about Mortimer. Gertie. Dudley.
When I was in grade school, the teacher finished half our roll call with “Lynne,” and the other half with “Jim.” (Digression: The leader of our fourth grade gang was a Lynne – I staged coups to topple her reign, but these were only temporarily successful at best. Lynne had white-blond hair in a high pony tail, and she was the fastest runner in school. I would have died to have that pony tail. Unbeknownst to her, we were fierce rivals. That all ended when we became best friends a year later.)
“Karin,” was singular state-side, but still, I thought it frightfully dull, especially since no one pronounced it correctly, and my severe speech impediment didn’t help to clear things up. “Did you say Kaylo, dear? Perhaps you meant Carol?” I wanted something with at least three syllables, I guess so I could really mangle it. Claudia and Stephanie were appealing.
In the hopes of allying myself with a famous Karin, I discovered Isak Dennison (Karen Von Blixsen). No, she didn’t spell it right, but it kind of made the whole odyssey of my name worthwhile all the same.
Martin Amis wrote that Tim Henman never had a chance at winning Wimbledon because of the “Tim” curse -- no Tim had ever done anything of historical significance. Amis was no dummy (“Martin” sports a decent history). Mexicans, particularly, are mindful of the importance of a significant moniker. Don’t tell me you’re not expecting impressive results from a Jesus or an Angel.
African Americans took a lot of comedic heat when some children were given brand -spanking new names. Initially I thought, “Well, that can’t be legal.” It seemed the equivalent of making up your own numbers or counterfeiting money. But then I warmed to the idea. You created that kid, you can call it any damned thing that crosses your mind.
Which might lead to another trend. Why not name your child after a favorite craft, or hobby or food? You know, Wainscoting, Tune-up, Pomme-frites.
Anything, anything but Emily and Jacob.
I’d like to continue this train of thought, but I have to turn my attention to Christopher and Michele. They need worming.