I was listening to a replay of an earlier episode of Lance Bass’s Dirty Pop the other day, and Lance and his co-hosts were talking about the Tennessee judge who changed a child’s name from “Messiah” to “Martin.” This topic lead into a discussion of weird baby names people have heard, and several people called in with some whoppers. And when I mean whoppers, I mean these were outright lies.
What is it about you teachers and nurses (the biggest offenders) that you apparently think your job isn’t interest enough on its own that you have to make up names of students? I’m not saying teachers and nurses don’t have interesting jobs. In fact, most of the teachers and nurses I know have much better war stories (assuming any of them are true) than pretty much any other profession I’ve met. But either you people are so greedy that you want to have a lock on “In addition to all the crazy stories I can tell you about my day, let me tell you this name I heard!” or you for some reason think that the rest of the world finds your job so boring that you’re just making up stuff. Either that, or you’re pathological liars. I dunno. But nearly everyone of these obviously fake “baby names” that are easily debunked by anyone who wants to spend 10 seconds on Google come from a nurse, a teacher, or a person who heard the name from a nurse or teacher. Heck, even my own mother used to make up these, “There’s a child at my school named [insert name that’s never appeared in the U.S. birth records ever]. Her mom is so uneducated she didn’t know what it meant!”
So what were the baby names (and how they were pronounced) reported by teachers, nurses, and friends of teachers/nurses to the Dirty Pop crew? Shithead (shah-threed), La-a (lah-dash-ah), twins named Lemonjello and Orangejello (lu-mon-jah-lo and oh-ron-jah-lo), Placenta (play-ceen-tah), and Meconium (mek-oh-nam). Seriously?! Not only have everybody and their grandmothers heard these urban legend child names before, but Snopes has debunked Every. Single. One. Of. Them. The only name missing from this “common urban legend” list was Female (fem-uh-lee; rhymes with “Emily”).
There were a couple of reported names that were probably real, like Dick Wiener (Richard Wiener is easy to believe. Not to mention, there was once a mayor in Indiana named Harry Baals, and the “First Lady” of my home state of Texas was named Ima Hogg). And there was at least one name that I completely called bullshit on, which turns out is actually real… because people suck [that name, in case you were wondering is Abcde (ab-sa-duh), which, while apparently a real name, is claimed to belong to someone actually known to the reporter more often than the vital records would support. That’s just lazy, people! (and stupid)].
Overwhelmingly, though, these names were clearly and lazily made up. Just the fact that Snopes has two articles on them, and I’ve heard no less than a dozen comedy routines using a number of these names is proof positive that people need to find new material. If you’re going to make things up, at least be original! Though, really, I would prefer people just didn’t make these things up. There are enough people in the world with unbelievably horrible names because of their parents’ stupidity, that you really shouldn’t even need to make up names. Not to mention, as the Snopes writer points out, many of these names have their origins in racism. Even if these urban legends aren’t thought of as racist in today’s times, they are, at best, classist. Personally, I don’t find it particularly amusing to make fun of people because they are poor and have low education.
Now, a note about Messiah:
Look, it’s no secret that I loathe kr8v names. But that judge was way over the line. In addition to the complete overstepping of her bounds [the only issue before her was the baby’s last name, not his first], her reasoning for the name change really bothers me. “There’s only one Messiah” smacks the legal system stepping its bounds into religion. Since the government shall establish no religion, and there’s only one religion that believes there has been the one Messiah, it sure looks like that judge was establishing a religion in violation of the First Amendment. I don’t foresee this withstanding appeal. I’m not a fan of naming a kid Messiah, but that wasn’t this judge’s call to make.
|(Heidi Wigdahl / Associated Press)
Sorry, little guy. Whatever your name is, you sure are cute.