The Joy of Giving Names

by | Dec 5, 2018 | Human Thinking and Behavior, Names | 0 comments

I like naming things. Most people do. Naming is a powerful, creative activity. 

Think of the hours of joy parents spend deciding what to name a child. Shall we go biblical — David? Or maybe popular —  Jackson? What about redeploying the name of an ancestor — Ludwig? 

I could write a whole column about celebrity parents who give their children original names like Daisy Boo (child of Jamie Oliver), Blanket (Michael Jackson), Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone), and Kyd (David Duchovny and Tea Leoni). 

Child naming used to be easier when couples reproduced year after year until the woman’s uterus gave out. For parents wanting only one or two children, the naming pressure can be great, leading to name-jamming children. For instance, my first child has a hyphenated first name and a hyphenated surname, along with a middle name. My second child has one less hyphen but two middle names. 

When I was still in school, my parents opened a sporting goods store. Family members discussed various possible names for the store. My idea prevailed: Superstar Sporting Goods. I still like that name.

Many people who live in rural areas name their property. For a few years, I lived at Spring Hill. Not a bad name — there is a spring, but the hill part is fanciful. 

Two friends gave me trees for the gardens at Spring Hill. I named the trees after the friends. 

Some individuals take so much delight in naming that they name their car. I am in that category. I drive a cute little car I call Lucky. My prior car kept getting bashed, and I hoped for better fortune with this one. After several months, Lucky has lived up to its name.

My naming desires do not end at cars. I would like very much to name a new disorder after myself. I want to join Parkinson or Alzheimer, but for something less serious. 

I had an idea in that realm decades ago. A friend (let’s call him Buddy Baker) often amazed me by saying things with absolute confidence that were absolutely wrong. Mostly these were incorrect factual statements, but what I remember most is his prediction that he would not live past 35. He now is long past that age. 

I initially said that someone who was often absolutely sure and absolutely wrong had Buddy Baker Syndrome. Then I decided to name the disorder after myself, for discovering it. You can help me here — whenever you hear someone confidently spout nonsense, think: John Malouff Syndrome.  

What have you enjoyed naming? Pets? Guitars? Cell phones?


[Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash]



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