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Strange People With Even Stranger Names: Which Came First?
by Marjorie Dorfman

What’s really in a name anyway? Was Shakespeare on the right track when he wrote about roses that were known by any other names? What if you have a name that defies convention and is absolutely ridiculous to boot? Read on for some insight, which won’t change a thing because if you have a silly name, it will still be silly after you have finished reading this.

Like the pine trees lining the empty road, I’ve got a name. And I carry it with me like my father did.
– Jim Croce

If Shakespeare questioned the true contents of a name, why wouldn’t we lesser mortals consider giving that very same issue at least a passing thought? Naming a baby is bestowing a title, planting the seed, if you will, for a legacy. It is without question, the most important title of a lifetime. A name remains like a permanent cloud over one’s head, starting in infancy and remaining, like an unwanted houseguest. A mocked child often grows into an adult no one wants to live next door to or turn his or her back upon. Would be parents unite and pay a visit to
The Institute For Naming Children Humanely before selecting a name for your sweet little bundle of original sin!

A number of years ago, a very funny man wrote a very funny little book called Remarkable Names of Remarkable People. His name is John Train (Could be worse. Could have been Choo-Choo Train). Believe it or not, some of the names presented in his book are just as ludicrous as that, topping the list with Positive Wasserman Johnson, a prostitute named Buncha Love, George Baretits of The US Army, Thomas Crapper of toilet fame and Sir Cloudsley Shovel, an admiral of the British Navy.

Since no bell seems to ring when a good name is chosen, how can we know when we have picked a bad one? Well, there are several pitfalls; the first to be considered is not to name a child after food, plants, locations or historical events. Besides what obviously sounds ridiculous, some clues may be found in the following examples: The Baroness Gaby Von Bagge of Boo, Rosebud Rosenbloom, Rosetta Stone and Bambina Broccoli. While nothing at all can be done about a silly surname, don't compound the problem by adding a silly first name. (Consider here Fifi FuFu and Private Parts of the US Army.) It might be a good idea to stay away from names that can be associated with every day words and associations. The following is a list of actual names taken from Mr. Train’s hysterical book, other sources and my own ridiculous acquaintances. (I personally met Fifi Fufu and somehow managed to keep a straight face.) In all of these cases, the names weren’t changed to protect the innocent.

Consider Rainy Day, a girl I went to elementary school with and she really was. Then there’s Dong Dong Dong, Lord and Lady Bastard, authoress, Madame Fouqueau De Pussy, Ima Hogg and Yura Hogg of Texas, Caresse Pecor from the University of Vermont, Reverend Canaan Banana of Rhodesia and Luscious Pea from the Charity Hospital in New Orleans. In the home furnishings department we have Shanda Lear from Battle Creek, Michigan and body parts runners-ups, Miss Pensive Cock of the U.S. Army, Ophelia Legg of Norwalk, Ohio, Ann Aas of Pittsburgh, Fanny Finger and Violet Organ (art historian, New York City).

Then there are those funny names that just happen to coincide with what the child grows up to be. Is this coincidence or self-fulfilling prophecy? Perhaps only their hairdresser knows for sure, but consider the following anyway: Mr. Vroom, motor cycle dealer of Port Elizabeth, South Africa; Dr. Zoltan Ovary, gynecologist, New York Hospital; Wyre and Tapping, detectives, New York City; Ronald Supena, lawyer; Mrs. Screech, singing teacher, Victoria, British Columbia; Mr. Bloom, horticulturist; Lawless and Lynch, attorneys from Jamaica, New York; the Katz Pajama Company, New York City; Climax Underwear Company of Cincinatti, Ohio; Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila, Philippines and last but not least, A. Moron, Commissioner of Education in The Virgin Islands.

Did you ever in your entire life? Well, how about what happens when parents name their children after someone famous? Results can be disastrous as illustrated by the following list: Aristotle Tottle, English pirate; Plato Foufas of Chicago; Mr. Venus Bonaparte of London; Salome Cassanova of Havana, Cuba; Aphrodite Chuckass, and William McKinley Louisiana Leveebust Smith of Richmond, Virginia.

There are also ethnic combination crossovers that can be positively mortifying. Please evaluate: Ave Maria Klinkenberg of New York City, Santiago Nudelman of Brazil, Siddhartha Greenblatt and Heidi Yum-Yum Gluck.

How about names that have unfortunate connotations? Here we must include: Joy Bang of New York City; Friendly Ley of Mission Hills, California; Lettice Goedebed of South Africa and don’t forget poor little Mary Lou Pantzaroff from Ohio.

Finally there are those names that common sense should tell you to avoid because they are just plain ridiculous. Obviously the following people had parents who didn’t feel that way. Consider Lavender Sidebottom of New York City, Newton Hooton of Massachusetts, High Pugh of England, Nita Bath of Philadelphia, Cigar Stubbs of Florida, Basil Crapster of Princeton University class of 1944 and Horacine Clutch of Pelham, New York.

As you can see, the question of what’s in a name has many answers. In these cases, all of them are silly. Don’t let this happen to your child. If uncertain as to how a name feels, roll it around your tongue and ask yourself if you could live with such a choice. If you can’t, your child certainly can’t. You might even consider changing your own name to the one you want for your child and live with it for a while. If that sounds too drastic, then just take a deep breath and think about roses. It worked for Shakespeare. It might for you too.

GOOD LUCK!



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