Hi, My Name is Oasis: My Parents didn’t Love Me
When it comes to choosing a name for their precious, little gem, most parents have at least six to nine months to make a decision. You’d think that between all the running around to get the baby’s room ready and buying bath tubs and bottles, most parents would use some of this time wisely, and settle on a shortlist of decent names. But that doesn’t always happen.
Some people read all the baby name books they can find, and consult all their friends, but still get it wrong.
As a result, some children get the sh*tty end of this stick, and end up with names like Esmerelda, Theobald, or Appleonia (and, if you’re wondering, yes some people in Trinidad name their kids after fruits; one of my friends knows an Appleonia).
Some parents really mean well, but still embarrass you. How many of you ended up with old woman or old man names because it was so sweet for your parents to name you after Granny Willomena or Granpa Alfy? How many of you use your middle name among friends because you don’t want anyone to know your name is Gemima?
It’s amazing how people know a funny name, when they hear it, but still manage to make a huge miss for their own child. Recently, I met a lady who proudly told me she’d named her kid Emmeressenne. She spelt it out after too, E-m-m-e-r-e-s-s-e-n-n-e… like she was proud! I couldn’t help but wonder, didn’t she ‘write out’ the name, and realise it had nearly half the number of letters in the alphabet? Imagine how long it’s going to take little E-m-m-e-r-e-s-s-e-n-n-e to spell it when she starts ‘big’ school!
I don’t know if it’s because the scars of primary-school harassment have long left their memory, but parents tend to forget the way children can corrupt someone’s name, or make a serious joke out of it. If Anthony La Borde can become Antotie La Bitch, or Curtis Lee can become Spermtis Pee, imagine what will happen if you give your child a truly corruptible name.
Parents who display this level of negligence should face some form of legal reprimand – anything ranging from public flogging to paying punitive damages for the emotional and mental distress of their offspring.
So, what exactly influences how people name their kids? Do they just go with what sounds great with their last name? Do they blacklist certain names from the get go because of religious reasons? Do they consider a historic occasion… like the man in Egypt who named his child Facebook, because of how the social network helped to lobby support for a revolution in the country? Do they consider a public figure? I bet about 20 babies in Trinidad got named Kamla last year.
Or do people just choose a name from their favourite song or movie? Pop culture has certainly spoilt a few names for a lot of people. I have a friend who recently wanted to name her daughter Stella, and asked me what I thought. I was like, who the chick who got her groove back in 1990?
Growing up listening to dancehall songs has also crossed off some female names for me. Between Red Rat and Lexus, names like Antoinette, Susie, Shelly Ann, and Charlene are off my list.
Some people believe that our names go beyond the acoustic aesthetic, and their meaning helps to define our path in life, so they make it a ceremony, a momentous occasion… which I don’t disagree with, but that’s not an excuse for coming up with Olutumbe Aloisius George.
The name you choose for your child should go way beyond ketching a vaps, making up a name, or deciding to spell a ‘normal’ name in a phonetically incorrect way. It’s a crime to make your child face unnecessary harassment, five to ten years down the road. And if you believe that names do in fact determine a child’s personality or path in life, then the pressure is even greater to make a good decision.
Many of us have names that we admire for a number of reasons, but you can’t just go naming your child willy nilly, without putting some deep thought into it. So if you decide not to put aside a considerable amount of time when your turn comes to make this decision, don’t expect any pity when your child hates you for the name you gave them.
(Oh, by the way if your name appears in this list, pick it up with your parents, not me.)
Check out the rest of this week’s issue (24/10/11; Issue 78):
- Soca Succession: Is it time for Machel to pass the Torch? By Karel Mc Intosh.
- Girls Who Play Video Games: Yes, We Do Exist. By Danielle Boodoo- Fortuné.
- Would You Visit A Shrink? By Desiree Seebaran.
- Forever Single: Living in Fear of Loneliness. By Joshua Ramirez-Wharwood.
Look out for a new issue of Outlish.com every Monday!