If you’re having a baby and thinking of potential names, please don’t be too creative. Your baby will have to live with that name for a very long time, at least until he or she is old enough to change the name officially. So please stay away from a name like “Pomegranate.” If you want to name your baby daughter after a fruit, try something that’s more acceptable like “Cantaloupe” or “Kumquat.”
If you want to name your son after a car, please stay away from names like “Mercedes” or “Kia.” Those are girls’ names. You’re better off with something masculine such as “Cadillac” or “Land Rover.” But don’t complain if some kid in kindergarten climbs on your son and tries to drive him around.
Whatever name you choose, please try not to be as creative as some celebrities. Singer Jermaine Jackson named his fourth son Jermajesty, magician Penn Jillette named his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter, actor Jason Lee named his son Pilot Inspektor and actress Shannyn Sossamon named her son Audio Science. Compared to them, singer M.I.A. gave her son a rather normal name: Ikhyd. I’d rather be Ikhyd any day than Jermajesty. Otherwise I’ll be dreading the day that someone introduces me to the King of Spain: “Your majesty, Jermajesty.”
Parents have a lot of freedom in choosing baby names, but we need to exercise that freedom carefully, or else it might be taken away from us. If you don’t believe me, just look at what’s happening in New Zealand. The country’s Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages has banned 102 names over the past two years, according to the Herald Sun. One of the rejected names is Lucifer, which three sets of parents tried to name their offspring. Who in their right mind would name their baby Lucifer? Probably someone named Lou Natic.
The agency also rejected names that sound like titles, such as Bishop, Duke, General, Judge, Justice and King, as well as the number 89 and the letters C, D, I and T. Oh no, there goes the dream of one of those computer guys from India –- to name his son I T King.
New Zealand has not always been so strict about baby names. In 2008, a couple had twin boys and were permitted to name them Benson and Hedges –- after the popular cigarette brand. At least their middle names made a lot of sense: Sillimom and Stupidad.
Another couple named their son Violence. That’s worse than Benson and Hedges. They deserve to be locked up immediately. Not for giving their son a bad name, but for breaking the New Zealand law that forbids citizens from deliberately creating Violence.
I hope that Violence grows up to be a great man. I can’t wait to see the newspaper headlines: “Violence Wins Nobel Peace Prize,” “Violence Makes First Visit to Middle East” and “Mob Attacks Parents Who Asked to See Violence Again.”
If Violence seems like a terrible name, just wait till you see what another couple named their son: Number 16 Bus Shelter. No kidding, they named him after a bus shelter, probably because that’s where he was conceived. They were waiting for a bus and the man looked at the woman and said, “How would you like to have another baby?” And the woman said, “Great idea! It would be wonderful to have a baby brother for Mercedes C-300 Backseat.”
If you enjoyed this piece, you’ll love Melvin’s humourous novel “Bala Takes the Plunge,” available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. Read the latest reviews here and an excerpt here.