It’s amazing the freedom with which people will tell you that the name that you and your partner have selected for your precious unborn child is, to their way of thinking, stupid. When people ask if we’ve settled on names, we’re accommodating and share the ones that we have indeed picked. If it’s a girl, it will be Sabine, after the river that divides southeast Texas from Louisiana. My husband’s ancestors forded the Sabine River as they made their way west. If it’s a boy, it will be Beckett, as in modernist Irish writer Samuel Beckett. Not because we’re Beckett fans, but because my husband saw his name on a sign when we were in Ireland and thought it had a solid ring to it. When we discovered that we had a little stowaway from that particular country, we figured it was all the more appropriate.
While most people are fine with Sabine, recognizing it as either a French or Italian name or (among the Texas contingent) for the river, they are less diplomatic in airing their displeasure with Beckett. We’ve suffered all manner of the visible and verbal stinkface. Noses wrinkle, lips curl, and hearing suddenly fails even the youngest. “You want to name it whatttt?” My brother quickly dubbed our two selections just about the most pretentious names he’d ever heard, but he and only he is allowed to get away with this because he wanted to name his son Wretch. (Thankfully for all involved he opted for Samuel.) But when we get this from people who think nothing of popping out a Peyton, Ashlyn, or Moses, we tend to scratch our heads.
We’re nothing if not willing to listen, though. Folks’ reluctance to sanction our names does in fact have us wondering if we need to expand our list. Some other ones we’re now considering:
Snowball Bird — I once announced as a child that I would some day name my daughter Snowball. Might be time to pay the piper.
Jupiter Pluvius Bird — A friend recently invoked this old timey rain reference mentioned in an early 1900s football article. Retro chic!
Plaxico Bird, Blagojevich Bird, Madoff Bird — Admittedly, these seemed like a way better idea initially.
Stands With a Fist Bird — Can’t hurt down the line when she’s filling out college applications.
Barack Hussein Bird — But imagine our irritation to discover there already is a Barack Hussein someone or other. Dangit!
Apu Nahasapeemapetilon Bird — So he, too, can “graduate first in his class of seven million at Caltech.”
Verizon Wireless Bird — Sure, we don’t typically like being sellouts to Big Cellular. But the wheelbarrows full of cash that they’ve offered to roll up to our door every month in exchange for naming rights to our child are awfully tempting. Plus, this sets us up for the ultimate child-rearing tool: “Excuse me, Verizon Wireless. Can you hear me now?!”
George Bush Bird — Ironic, I know. But it guarantees he’ll be president some day.
Shiloh Suri Pax Maddox Violet Apple Bird — Phoo. Again, apparently taken already.
Kiernan Riordan O’Shea Bird — Because maybe the problem with Beckett is that we’re not going Irish pretentious enough, hmmm? Did that just Blow. Your. Mind?