An argument for Big Government

Rose brought home a list of the kids in her kindergarten class to help her address Valentine cards.  Isaac points out a very creatively-spelled name on the list.

I say, “Isn’t it a shame when people have to mess with perfectly good traditional names just to make them ‘unique’ and ‘interesting’?”

Dean says, “And then the poor kid has to explain their name to everyone for the rest of their life.”

I say, “Yeah, I wonder what that’s like.* You know the worst creative name spelling ever?  It’s spelled ‘L A hyphen A’ and it’s pronounced “Ladasha.”

“No.”

“It’s true, it’s really been used. I think that one’s grounds for a legal name change.”

“I thought you were about to say it’s grounds for Child Protective Services to intervene.”

I laugh. “No. But maybe so.”

“The Child Protective Services Name Change Division.”

*The “i” in Zina is a long “i,” as in the traditional American pronunciations of “Dinah” or “Carolina,” but often people who’ve only seen it written understandably guess that it rhymes with Tina or Gina. Less understandably, some people will continue to call me Zena long after they’ve been corrected several times.

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This entry was posted in But Dean is the funniest, Other people are funny, Parenting. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to An argument for Big Government

  1. Thora says:

    Actually, according to Laura Wattenburg, the author of the blog associated with the Baby Name Wizard sight, the name L-ia is actually a racial “joke.” She can find no actual evidence of it being used as a name.

    The link: http://www.babynamewizard.com/archives/2009/10/ledasha-legends-and-race-part-one (there are two parts – the second part is linked to from the first part).

    I’ve heard that in Germany there is an approved name list people can name their kids off of. (I heard this from two Germans, so if they’re wrong, they certainly believed it was true).

    • zstitches says:

      By the way, I love the Name Voyager. I’d lost the link and been looking for it, so thanks for helping me find it again.

      I was kind of pleased to see that Mabel, Henry, and Hazel have very similar patterns on the Voyager chart–makes me feel like Dean and I did well at choosing names that go together. Rose’s curve is almost the same except for that it stayed popular longer than the others–up until about the 1950s. And Isaac’s the odd man out since his name has had a popularity spike in the last couple of decades.

  2. Thora says:

    Not that some creatively spelled names don’t drive me crazy. They do. But sometimes it’s hard to know if it’s a legitimate cultural name, or a name that was made up, or spelled differently just to be different. Apparently there are 45 different spellings of Mckenzie being used. That’s a lot of creative variations on a name! (once again, Laura Wattenburg is my source on this. What can I say, I love reading about names.)

    • zstitches says:

      There I go spreading urban legends. At least I heard it as an example of a Utah name so I don’t have to feel like I was (deliberately) making a racial joke.

      • zstitches says:

        Also, if you peruse the “L” section of the Utah Baby Namer site, you can see how it could have been easy for me to fall for that myth:

        http://wesclark.com/ubn/

        My brother’s had a longstanding joke that he was going to name all his kids different names, but all spelled Tiddo. So their teacher would read their name on the roll as “Tiddo,” and they’d have to say, “No, it’s spelled Tiddo, but it’s pronounced ‘Matthew.'”

        • Stephen says:

          Oh, oh.

          How I LOVE the Tiddo idea. If only someone had the nerve. But then, I guess that would be a cruel diservice to the children merely to express one’s own social commentary. Still…

  3. I totally agree. I am a traditional speller all the way. It is so much easier for kids to learn to write their name and have the confidence in school. It may sound great to you as a parent to have a unique spelling but really if you have to tell everyone how to spell it just for a birthday card, man that would get old. I hate have to spell out my last name. It would get annoying to have to spell my first also.

    • zstitches says:

      I left out the part of the conversation where Dean was telling me about one of his students’ names that isn’t pronounced as you might guess, but that’s because it’s Danish. It was a pretty name, too. I do like uncommon names, I just don’t care for the trend of spelling common names in unusual ways.

  4. Hannah says:

    Why wouldn’t you want to go by Zena? At my first real job, everybody had to go by three initials for time sheets, project allocation, etc. Because my parents didn’t give me a middle name, HR assigned the letter “X” for my middle make. Occasionally people would see the “X” and ask about my middle name. I would always tell them it was Xena.

  5. Megan says:

    I was going to include Xena in my comment, but Hannah beat me too it.

    There are several (legitimate, meaning not made up to be creative but stemming from different countries) ways to spell Megan. There are also made-up variations. I thought it was cool that the same name could evolve different spelling based on the country of origin.

    • zstitches says:

      I like spelling differences that reflect the name’s origin.

      And for what it’s worth, the title of this post notwithstanding, I would never be in favor of limiting a parent’s right to name their child, even if I do deplore some parents’ choices. And I’m quite aware that some folks would deplore my choices, too.

  6. danithew says:

    I got this nickname danithew from somebody named Zena.

    It sounds like a sneeze.

  7. Mary Ann says:

    I love the idea of a CPS Name Change division! I’m thinking of heading up one in the Department of Marriage Licenses after seeing this Star Trek-themed wedding announcement. It had the Borg Queen on it. It said “Resistance is Futile”. I kid you not. I’m thinking of a forcible divorce followed by incarceration on charges of assaulting good taste.

    • zstitches says:

      That wedding announcement does almost defy belief. One can’t help supposing that such a couple will end up in court soon enough even without outside intervention . . .

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