serenity now!
LITERARY CHESTNUT

DAILY PIECES   |   FEATURES   |    LETTERS

FRUIT SALAD   |   GUFF   |   W.U.W.T.?

BIRTHDAY CARDS TO CELEBRITIES

SOAPBOX   |   FOR FURTHER READING


July 18, 2003       |       Today's Terrorist Threat Level: 100% Real Juice.       |       Happy Birthday, Vin Diesel!

[ * The Y.P.R. SUGGESTION BOX is now open. * ]

persist this!

I N F A N T I L E   N O M E N C L A T U R E

BY
RAY STILLMAN



If you are a virile man like me with dashing good looks and inexhaustible stamina, itís probable that youíve impregnated many women all over town and even some in far away places. Or you may be a pregnant woman yourself, or perhaps the husband/ boyfriend/ life partner of someone who is expecting, or, possibly, you are currently waiting for your adopted overseas child to clear U.S. customs. In any of these circumstances, you are likely to be suffering fitful, frantic, sleepless nights as you decide what to name your progeny. And of course, if, like me, you have numerous buns in numerous ovens, the anxiety owing to the baby-naming dilemma increases exponentially.

Selecting the proper name for your child is no easy task. One must search through the Yellow Pages line by line, crossing out names until only a small, manageable collection remains. Then, one must dissect each name for flaws: the etymology must be researched; the local seer or telephone psychic must be consulted to determine the numerological and astrological value of potential names; and, finally, the name must be checked with rhyming and alliterative words to predict eventual childhood taunts and jeers.

In the end, it is likely you've selected Zoe, Chloe, Emma, Emily, or Abby for your daughter. This is terrible. Your daughter, Mia, will be one of fifty-six other Mias in her kindergarten class because every parent-to-be is picking the same ďuniqueĒ name.

Baby-naming trends are as impossible to predict as the stock market. Witness the recent wave of geographic places as names: first came the Madisons and Dakotas and Parises; most recently every newborn seemed to be a Trenton, Detroit, Schenectady, or Uganda. This fad probably peaked when hot celebrity couple Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe announced the name of their baby on the way: Des Moines.

Hollywood has always been a great source of names. In my daughter Keanuís first-grade class, there are three Oprahs, two Ashtons, one Kutcher, and both a male and a female Mr. T. So if youíre thinking of naming your child J.Lo or Gilligan, better keep looking, pal!

Going with biblical names would seem a safe bet, but in this yearís official ESPN Top Baby Names List (brought to you by Dodge/Chrysler), Methuselah, Lot, and Lucifer all cracked the top 10, and even Nebuchadnezzar made it to the top 100. Out with the Good Book. Have you checked the Koran? Mohamed, Muhammad, Mohammad, and Mo are all up there in the top 50.

And, off course, names are cyclical, which is why our grandparentsí names are all coming back. Thereís a whole new generation of Gladyses, Beatrices, and Ethels going on play dates with Horaces, Eugenes, and Rutherfords. Quaint and retro, sure, but if you havenít already given your child an obsolete name, youíve missed the boat. You donít want your kid growing up with an old-fashioned name thatís expired twice over!

So what should we name our babies of tomorrow? How do we stay ahead of the curve? One new fad thatís very slowly catching on: fancy foods. In the hospital nursery, there are some newborn P‚tťs, Foi Grases, and Abalones. But you better claim your delicious baby A.S.A.P., before the edible thing becomes passť: Kate Hudson and her husband Ė you know, that rocker guy from whatever band heís in Ė have already announced their intentions of Pilaf if itís a boy and Kobe Beef if itís a girl.

Other name sources on the horizon are atomic elements. Carbon, Boron, Lanthanum, and Manganese are all great up-and-coming baby names. Very hot are gender-neutral noble gases: Neon, Argon, Xenon, and Radon. Also in vogue are game-show hosts (Sajak, Trebek, Martindale, etc.) and chic prescription drugs (Vicodin, Paxil, Zoloft) Ė but those too are in danger of becoming old-hat very fast.

Well, Iíve got my baby names picked out, and I ainít telliní. Iíll give you a hint, though: metamorphic rock.






MORE BRILLIANT
DAILY PIECES
RIGHT THIS WAY...



Snarky!


ABOUT THE AUTHORS    |    ABOUT Y.P.R.

CONTACT    |    HELP    |    STAFF    |    JOBS

KINDRED SPIRITS    |    EXPORTS    |    LINKS

SUBSCRIBE    |    SUPPORT    |    SUBMIT    |    SHOP

A NOTE ABOUT THE TYPE    |    RECIPE FOR YANKEE POT ROAST

SUGGESTIONS FOR READING AND ENJOYING YANKEE POT ROAST

A BLANK PIECE OF PAPER, ZEN-LIKE IN ITS INFINITE POSSIBILITY

© MMIII, YPR/TimeWarner