Well You Needn't

June 7, 2009
Posted by Jay Livingston

The primary school my son went to is moving, and there was a farewell tour of the old building. The walls were covered with the kids’ art and their class projects. I was looking at the classroom doors – guides to trends in names. Gone were Emily and Alexandra and of course Jason.
But this one stopped me in my tracks.


“There’s Only One Aretha,” I remembered. It was the title of a chapter in Beyond Jennifer and Jason: An Enlightened Guide to Naming Your Baby, by far the best of the books my wife and I consulted back in the late 80s. (The title has since been updated: Beyond Jennifer & Jason, Madison & Montana: What to Name Your Baby Now.)

Don’t name your kid Aretha – that was the gist of the chapter – unless you want to doom her to a lifetime of predictable comments. There are some names that are unique. There’s only one of them, and it’s been taken.

Surely Thelonius must be such a name – even his son goes by T.S. Monk, Jr. But at least on the West Side, maybe it has broken out.

1 comment:

Sangeeta said...

A couple of Indian (grand)parents with a deep reverence or fascination for Russian leaders, literature, or even the space program back in the 1950-70s have named their kids likewise. E.g. Stalin (the son of an Indian parliament member), Puskin, Sputnika! What were they thinking??