Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

April 29, 2013

Time to stop the name game

By Rebecca Todd

— “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.” — Einstein.

Einstein nailed it. Of course he did. He’s Einstein. Although I’m sure he would be thrilled with my endorsement. But let’s face it; it doesn’t take Einstein to figure that one out. All it takes is a day working with the public or a trip to Walmart to realize that just when you think you’ve seen human stupidity at its most infinite height, someone steps up to knock it out of the park.

Case in point: let’s take a trip to an American hospital and wander through the maternity ward. We’re going to have to be really careful because security is extra tight in maternity wards, which is evidenced by the way one of my husband’s friends was able to just waltz into the room seconds after I had given birth to my daughter; not that I’m bitter.

Here we are, spying on a happy couple as they beam down upon the little pink, precious bundle with which they have just been blessed. Then the proud mommy looks down at her newborn and says, “I’m going to name her Hashtag,” at which point sirens go off and the authorities swoop in and take the baby before she can be further damaged by these morons.

At least, that’s what I wish would happen. Alas, people are allowed to slap their children with any kind of made-up moniker they like, and Hashtag Jameson is a real person as far as I can tell. Trust me I searched in vain trying to prove that the story that went viral at the end of last year was not true. However, the more I read, the more I believe that people will name their child anything and nobody can stop them.

Is there no way we can stop little Hashtag from ending up on the playground with Like, Moo, Tequila, and Eh? (Yes, these are all real names. Fourteen girls in the United States were named Eh last year.) Is there no way we can stop parents from insuring that their children will be bullied in junior high? Is there no way to make them stop giving their children horrid names just so they can gain attention for themselves?

Should we somehow regulate baby names in the U.S.? China does it. They vetoed “@” as a name. Sweden does it. They vetoed “Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116” (pronounced “Albin”). New Zealand does it. Authorities there stopped a couple from naming their child “4real,” but then the couple named the child Superman, which got through. Germany does it. A couple there actually wanted to name their child “Hitler.” Enough said about that.

There’s something to be said for freedom, but I’m thinking we could perhaps set some ground rules for baby naming in the U.S. At the very least, can we just put a stop to making up names and using unusual spellings? If only there was some way to regulate common sense. Considering the backlash against the parents of baby Hashtag on forums across the Internet, I think there are many other people who would be on board.

So many solutions to this problem are running through my mind, but I guarantee you that most of them would land me under investigation and all of them would guarantee nasty hate mail. So I’m just going to end with this plea: Parents, for the love of all that is holy, stop torturing your children with these hideous names. Give them at least a chance to make it out of junior high alive. It doesn’t take Einstein to realize you’ll be doing them a favor.

— Rebecca Todd is a freelance writer and the author of the book, “What’s the Point?” available at booklocker.com. Contact her at btodd@tds.net.