Saturday, September 29, 2007

Funny names

As I was driving home tonight, I found myself staring at a large neon sign next to a church. It said "Korean Presbyterian Church, Pastor – He Moon You." I kid you not. I kept thinking every Sunday come on down for some sermons, prayers and He Moon You. And if you laugh, his son, He Soo You, will be coming after you. As I sat snorting to myself, I started thinking of all the other funny real names I have seen or heard.

Way back when I was in high school and preparing to enter a pre-med program in college (not by choice, my parents forced me into it), I interned at the New York City Morgue and the Chief Coroner’s name was Dr. Gross. This was a fitting name because he would eat pastrami sandwiches with one hand while pulling organs out of dead bodies with the other. I would always watch horrified at the idea that he might one day forget which hand he was eating with and which hand he was digging with. I was one of the interns in charge of bringing up those buckets of organs for analysis to the lab. I swear I couldn’t eat Kentucky Fried Chicken for years after this job because the organs were placed in the same buckets that KFC does their bucket of chicken in.

In elementary school, the award for perfect attendance went to a boy named Peter Pan who I had never seen before! And during summer camp, I used to make fun of a girl named Heidi Ho, not because of her name but because she was a little sniveling tattletale. So I would walk behind her and sing the seven dwarves theme “Heigh ho, heigh ho, it’s off to work we go.” At my last job, a previous board member was named Paige Turner. But she turned out to be a real bore. There was the Chinese guy named Sam Jew who was actually a Christian. And in high school we had a counselor named Eileen Dover. We would always try to make her fall.

But the real fun comes in celebrities and their wacky names for their children. How would you like to go to school with magician Penn Jillette’s daughter Moxie Crimefighter? Or “My Name is Earl” star Jason Lee’s son Pilot Inspektor? Or my particular favorite, Jermaine Jackson’s son Jermajesty Jackson. Seriously, I can’t even keep a straight face on reading Jermajesty. Do you have to bow in his presence before speaking?

The NY Times had an interesting article last year about this phenomenon. Some therapists believe it is simple narcissism on behalf of the stars in naming their children exotic names. The child is merely an extension of themselves. An appendage. So name it exotically and garner more attention for yourself, at your child's expense. Others believe it is a vain attempt to keep their children special from the common people. Ahead of popular fashion. Explaining why some stars, like Harvey Keitel Cate Blanchett and Debra Messinger, have named their sons Roman, while others like Heath Ledger have picked old fashioned names like Matilda. Whichever excuse you believe, one thing is for sure, we are a lot more accepting of the bizarre naming rituals of our celebrities, but what about the common folk?

Earlier this month, Venezuela was trying to pass a law to ban stupid names. Apparently they have a real problem there with people trying to name their kids Superman and stuff like that. The point is to empower the registry to stop people from giving their kids names that would subject them to ridicule. Good idea or not? While some think it is in the best interests of the child not to be named Syphilis or Vagina (real names found in Social Security registry databases), is it the right of the government to stop a parent from naming their child Superman? After all, isn't it a parent's right to name their child anything they want? Even if it will scar their child for life?

Meanwhile, recently in New Zealand, a couple tried to name their kid 4Real but was stopped by the New Zealand registry. Pat and Sheena Wheaton were told that they couldn't register their son's name because it contained a digit. So they decided to name him Superman instead. But the proud daddy stated that their son would always remain “4Real.” He further stated that it had been hard to read all the abuse they have been subjected to on the internet for their decision but decided to discount it as it might all have been the ramblings of some ten year old schoolgirl. Ummmm, no. I don't think it's just ten year olds. I think the world is making fun of you, 4Real.


pacatrue said...

If I wasn't exhausted I would be spewing.

I once was a T.A. for a Korean student with the name Bang-Im Kim. Not funny at all when pronounced pseudo-correctly, "Bahng Eem Kim", but pretty darn good as "Bang 'em Kim".

My mother had a student many years back, perhaps from Indonesia, whose last name was Dikshit.

Oh well. Paca probably means pig snot is some language somewhere.

Bernita said...

My husband knew a woman by the name of Alice Mae Leake.Her father's name was Will.

moonrat said...

the rally monkey wants to know, was Eileen's husband named Ben?

also, the rally monkey wants to remind you of major league pitcher Randy Johnson (nicknamed The Big Unit--no, you dirty people, because he's 6'10''!!).

also, you know, I tried to subscribe to your blog but it doesn't feed! frustrating!! without the reminders to check i realize i have missed some seriously funny posts.

Ello said...

Hey Paca - I think I know Bahng Eem! He married Phuk Me Lee, right?

Bernita! It's amazing the real names we come across!

Moonrat - I think her son was a Ben! ;o) By the way, I put feedburner on my site so please burn away!

Travis Erwin said...

Very funny. And I have heard some great ones but for some reason all I can think of right now is my grandparent's insurance man whose name was Donald Duck.

The guy was like eighty back in those days so he might have been older than the character.

Charles Gramlich said...

I agree that when people name their kids some bizarre names they are doing it for themselves and not the child. That's just selfish to me. One of the strangest names I've seen was Orangello.

SzélsőFa said...

Hey, Ello,
they are called Címkék and are below every single post :)

If you check carefully, every one of my post finishes with Címkék (in gray), followed by a : and then there are the tags in bold ang green.
This post for example has tags: 'haiku' and 'the path'. See?

Under Címkék, there's 'SzélsőFa mondta ezt ekkor' and a date, and 'your opinion matters'.

Was it of any help?

Ello said...

Donald Duck and Orangello! Seriously what are people thinking?

Hey Sze! I found it! Thanks. They were so awesome!

Lisa said...

My aunt was in the delivery ward with another woman who was going to name her baby girl Placenta, because she thought it was pretty. Even when names aren't bizarre, I wish people would take a little more time thinking about how first and last names sound together. Thank God my mother decided against her first choice for me -- Jennifer -- I'd have had to live with Jenny Kenney all my life. Initials too can be pretty bad when people don't picture first, middle and last initials before sticking a kid with them.

AnnaBoeks said...

Charles- My English teacher taught twins named Orangello and Lemongello. Weird.

A boy on my younger brother's soccer team a while ago was named Thong Ho, which is pretty bad and I heard of a foreign couple who named their baby Diarrhea, not knowing what it meant.