In North America, the most popular baby names continue to be Sophie and Aiden, Emma and Noah. That’s simple and straight forward stuff. And yet with thousands of normal names available to them, parents keep coming up with clunkers like Hippo, Thunder, Espn, Google, Mango, Burger, Shoog and Thinn.
Unlike most other countries, Canada and the United States do not have strict federal regulations on what you can and cannot name your baby. But maybe we should because we still have newborns crawling across carpets with names like Goofisi, FeeBee, Panda, Phone, Rocket, Blip, Cheese, Fairy, Baoboo, Egypt and Jag. Believe it or not, Cheese is quite popular. Can you imagine Cheese meeting Burger, falling in love and raising a family of not-so-Thinn little sliders?!?
Brazil, where Wonarllevyston Garlon Morllon Branddon Bruno Poullynelly Mell Oliveira Pereira lives, does not have naming restrictions. (And the kid doesn’t even like Marlon Brando!) Settling on extraordinary and very long names for children is quite common in Brazil. Mike Tyson Schwarzenegger Pradella Errolflynn Paixao Yerkyleydy Keilla Copecci Chorlingtonglaevion beecheknavare dos Arjos Mendonca is a 31-year-old plumber who tells people they can just call him “Chacha.” His driver’s license is four and a half feet long and by the time he finishes making a dinner reservation, the kitchen is usually closed.
I’m guessing the parents of Abraao Lynconn Sousa Santana Lindon Johnson Menezes da Luz Junior had an interest in American politics. (Junior?) It wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes da Silva (Honest, you can’t make this stuff up) to figure that one out.
In a town near Sao Paulo, the parents of seven kids names them Elvis, Elvisnei, Elvismara, Elvislei, Elviscentina, Elvislaine and Elvislene. Not happy about it, each of the children has developed a curled upper lip. In case of a fire, the father yells “Elvis!” and immediately, they all leave the building.
“I have a name which makes me stand out from the crowd,” says Creedence Clearwater Coutou, a 34-year-old phys. ed. teacher from Ribeirao Preto. Another man named Colapso Cardiaco (Cardiac Arrest) heartily disagrees.
Neighbouring Venezuela also plays the weird name game by frequently saddling their children with, first names like Stalin, Nixon, Hiroshima, Tutankamen and TajMahal. Similarly, parents in Zimbabwe preface their kids’ names with Godknows, Lovemore and Learnmore as in Godknows Gomba, Lovemore Banga and Learnmore Dakarai. The prefaced first name Ima has also been used in North America as in Ima Mann, Ima Pigg and yes, Ima Hoare.
A couple in Sweden named their child Brfxx in order to protest the baby-naming laws in that country. In Sweden, Alice, Maja, Elsa and Ella are most popular for girls with Lucas, William, Oscar and Oliver besting the boy’s list. Banned are Metallica, Veranda and IKEA. Yet somehow Google is legal.
In Denmark, do not try calling your kid Well, Pluto, Monkey or Anus. Those names never passed the title test. You hear parents frequently address a child as “You little monkey,” but in Denmark that would be illegal.
Malaysia bans a lot of proposed baby names and for very good reason. Khiow Khou meaning hunchback and Ah Chwar meaning snake are on the black list as is Chow Tow for smelly head and Woti for sexual intercourse.
In New Zealand, a young girl recently went to court to legally charge the name she was given at birth and has hated since she was able to talk. In her judicial endeavour, 9-year-old Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii was successful. The judge ordered her name changed. She wants to be known as “K.”
How did that happen? Let’s say you and the wife are sitting in a cozy little pink bedroom looking at your fat-faced, 10-pound baby girl on her first day home from the hospital and you start talking names.
“What do you think about Ruby?” she says.
“Well I really like Grace,” he replies.
“How does Olivia sound?” she says.
“That’s okay but Emily sounds a lot better,” he replies.
“Okay then let’s compromise … how about Love Potion Number Nine?”
“How about Metta World Peace?’
“It’s already taken. How about My Father’s Mustache?”
“The Fox & Firkin is my favorite pub.”
“How about Talula as in Bankhead?”
“How about The Hula as in Hawaii?”
Both at the same time, “We got it! Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii Bankhead!”
“Somehow Bankhead doesn’t sound right,” the saner of the two replies.
The judge in the “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii” case also voiced concerns about other names assigned to children at birth, names that could cause them a social handicap, names like Violence, Midnight Chardonnay, Number 16 Bus Shelter and of course Social Handicap. (Okay, I made that last one up but, sadly, the others are all true.) Whatever happened to the good ol’ names like when Johnny Cash had A Boy Named Sue?
For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of Wainfleet, go to www.williamthomas.ca.