I admit to being somewhat obsessed with names. As a youngster (did I really just use that word?) I spent hours going over our Who’s Who books looking at all the names of high school students across the nation. I found sone really cool names, ones that inspired my imagination. I also found some really bizarre ones, names that made me think, “How could you do that to your child?”

I don’t spend hours poring over names anymore, but I do pay attention to the ones that happen to jump out at me from time to time, good and bad. For instance, I recently came across the first name Garl. Really? Garl? I hope there’s an interesting story behind that name. And hopefully that interesting story does not involve alcohol.

Seriously, I get concerned sometimes when I hear names parents have given to their children. A child’s name should be chosen with… well sobriety. After all, these are the names that kids will be stuck with until their are at least 18. And really, at that point the emotional scars from bizarre names have pretty much set in. So here are a few reasons for parents to stay sober when deciding what name to bestow on their child:

• The names need to be somewhat easy to spell. If a child can’t get the spelling of their name right until they are almost out of elementary school, the name is too complicated.
• The names also need to be easy to pronounce. Let’s not make it difficult for the people who will be dealing with your child. If you’ve made up a name that no one else can say, then people will just make up nicknames for your child. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?
• The name needs to make sense. “A Boy Named Sue” is a cute title, but an awful reality. And a boy named Garl isn’t any better. (No, I’m not making that up.)
• Alliteration, rhyming schemes, and other patterns often do not turn out to be as cool as they seem during that baby-naming high. I once read about a mother who named her children with slight variations on the same word. Chase, Chance, Case. It may have been easy to call them, but that’s probably not the naming boon that it seems to be.
• This one’s easy: Suri Cruise, Apple and Moses Martin, Sunday Rose Urban, and many, many more. Now, the parents of these children may not have been drunk when they named then, but they might have been drunk on their own baby-naming power. There is such a thing as over-thinking it. Don’t try to create the next celebrity by branding your child with a celebrity-worthy name.

So let’s put a little extra thought to avoid the obvious pitfalls when naming the generation. Because everyone deserves a name they can be proud of.

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