Sunday, October 01, 2006

How to name your child

Most experts recommend you give your child a name within the first ten years of their life. My own parents refused to name me until I was seventeen, choosing instead to represent me as a sustained B-flat played on a Casio keyboard, resulting in bouts of paranoid schizophrenia that still plague me today whenever I hear the Yes album Tormato.

The name you choose for your child should reflect on you, and only you. It should be so clever, so esoteric, so unpronounceable that a mere utterance of your child’s name would immediately cause anyone within earshot to renounce all religious affiliation and begin worshipping you full time, for you are truly a cultural and intellectual demi-god who names offspring with the same awesome authority with which God bestows names to the flora and fauna of this planet Earth. Or you could name your child “Mary,” thus diverting all attention from yourself, but I would not recommend it. Your child has the rest of their life to carve out a place in the annals of human history. Your time to shine is now.

While people choose to have children at different times, the most opportune time to name your child is in your twenties when your “Pretension Level” is at its peak. At age twenty-three I responded to the phrase “Hey, check out that raccoon over there” by spouting off on the prison industrial complex and its metaphysical connection to the animal kingdom for seven straight hours. If only I had a child at that time I might have given them a name that would forever symbolize my subjectively superior intellect.

I had chosen many names for my non-existent child, but finally settled on a name that would be pronounced differently every time it was spoken and would never appear in print. This, I believed, was the next logical step in baby naming after an entire generation of acid freaks beget offspring with names like “Starshine,” “Vortex Division,” and “Train of Mayonnaise! Too Many Kittens In My Brain? I Fucking Hate These Damn Ass Cops, Man!” which was the lengthy name given to my friend Jeffrey’s youngest boy five hours before Jeffrey realized he had no children and that the boy was actually a crude drawing of Snoopy he had scrawled on the back of a phonebook.

A recent article documented the ongoing trend of giving children brand names. For the past several years, more and more parents have given their children names like Lexus, Disney, Armani, and V8 Splash With Beta Carotene. This is possibly the most ingenious method of baby naming ever conceived, even more so than naming your children after celebrities. Yes, we all want our children to end up like Slim Pickens, but those children are rare, and Southern.

Considering how easy it is to have kids, adopt them, or just find them at amusement parks and shopping malls and raise them as your own, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay ahead of the curve and come up with unique names. The Bible, once the source for all kinds of names, has been tapped out, and the practice of slightly modifying the spelling and pronunciation of a name has grown tiresome. Scientists, many of whom have yet to grasp what a scientist’s real job is, speculate the name “Mike” now has seven hundred variations. Our culture is an amalgam of everything that came before us, ideas piled upon ideas, and the names we choose for our children are no different. Drop by any playground on any weekday in any city in the United States, and you will find children with names as diverse as “Dakota,” “Sears Automotive Center,” “Bubble Yum Hitler” and “Winona Jesus.” In turn, these children will bestow equally peculiar names to their own children, which can only mean a global “Children of the Corn” style genocide will occur within the next two or three generations as children becoming increasingly confused by their own names and lash out at their parents for not making things simpler. However, this should not stop you from bestowing a clever name upon your child like a branding iron applied to a retarded draft horse. Remember: you own your child, and they will someday have kids of their own which they can use as living, breathing promotions for themselves. It is every parent’s duty to make this clear to their children before they lock us inside the local diner and force us to watch while our own severed limbs are fed through a meat grinder.

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