Names in 2018

When I was a kid people named their children after family members or friends who they admired or wanted to honor. My father was from the south. He had a brother named Solen, as well as one named Woodfin. They got the shorter end of the family tree as my father’s name was James and he also had a brother, Robert. I’m sure there must have been a Solen or a Woodfin somewhere back in my grandfather’s life that had deserved the honor bestowed on my Uncle Solen, who went by Tamer and whose middle name was Ethesbert, and my Uncle Woodfin. Woodfin became Woody and changed his middle name to Oppenheimer so his initials would be W.O.W. Granted this was a long time ago. But James became Jimmy and Robert, Bobby. Dad’s sisters were Dorothy Jean and Wanda. All of these names were passed down in the family or to honor a family member or friend. Seems simple enough. I only mention this because names have changed to the point where I often have to wonder where the heck they come from and while I’m sure my mother’s name, Norma, has in time gone the way of Mildred or Gertrude, I started to wonder where baby names come from. Well, it turns out there are sites on the internet such as Baby Center that give you a list of popular names to choose from, as well as the previous year’s top ten for boys and girls. Sophia is first on this year’s list for girls followed closely by Olivia, Emma, Ava and Isabella. For boys, Jackson is tops followed by Liam, Noah, Aiden and Caiden. I have to admit to puzzling over the seemingly inordinate number of Caidens I’d seen in recent memory. Also Cayden and Kayden – seems people can’t agree on the spelling. And while I think Sophia is a lovely name I hate the thought of a baby whose name conjures images of an Italian sex symbol from the 1960’s. Anyone under 50 won’t get that last bit. But it seems there’s even a newer trend, which is naming your children after zen or natural lifestyles, thus a huge bump in Ocean (up 31% for boys) and Peace (up 66% for girls). I remember when basketball star Ron Artest changed his name to Meta-World Peace and everyone thought he was crazy. Turns out he was ahead of his time. Apparently the rise of some of this year’s names are thanks to Fortnite, an online video game (Ramirez jumped 57%). We had a Ramirez family in my neighborhood when I was growing up. I wonder if one of them has a granddaughter  named Ramirez Ramirez?  And what happens when, god forbid, Fortnite is no longer popular? Will young Ramirez be relegated to a life of irrelevance and shame? Also the Kardashian-Jenner family leads the list, as first-time mom Kylie Jenner’s daughter’s name, Stormi, rose 63%.  I would think that’s maybe up from 1 to 3 considering Stormi with an ‘i’ was previously unheard of. But the numbers don’t lie, that’s still 63% or thereabouts. My point here is have we really gotten so far off the deep end with reality shows and the internet ruling any and everything we do that we need them to tell us what name to give our child? If you delve a little deeper, there’s also a list of names that have fallen from grace. How screwed are you if your name’s on that list, Emerson, Quinn, Elaina or Julia? Julia Roberts must be so pissed right now and she was just making a comeback. She could always change it to Stormi – Stormi Roberts. How catchy is that? Super stardom once again assured. Oh, I know, I know what you’re thinking…“You’re just a grouchy old guy who doesn’t change with the times.” Fair enough. At this point in my life I’m closer to Andy Rooney than any current or relevant Andy. Sorry I couldn’t think of one. Andrew, another time-trusted name, no doubt replaced by Logan or Aiden. Sure, you’re right, I might be old fashioned. But I say why not go old school? I’ve got Ethesbert locked and loaded for you. Try that one on for size first day of Montessori. I guarantee you won’t have to differentiate your Ethesbert from 6 others. And if you think these are just sour grapes, my name’s Donald, so let that sink in. A normal day in 2018: “Mom, can Tesla come over to play?” “I’m sorry, Siri, but Ocean has a fever so we’re staying in the pod.” The End

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