I was reading a YA novel by John Green. And on page 42 of An Abundance of Katherines I found this charming conversation about a particularly inconsiderate baby name.
Quick story summary: High-school buddies, Colin and his friend Hassan, are on a summer road trip, which has taken them from Chicago to rural Tennessee. A tour guide named Lindsey is leading the boys through a to a spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is supposedly buried. Colin falls and bangs his head on something hard. He is bleeding…
“Possible concussion,” Lindsey noted, “What day is it? Where are you?”
“It’s Tuesday, and I’m in Tennessee.”
“Who was the junior senator from New Hampshire,” Hassan asked.
“Bainbridge Wadleigh,” answered Colin. “I don’t think I have a concussion.”
“Is that for real?” asked Lindsey. “I mean, did you really know that?”
Colin nodded slowly.”I know all the senators. Also, that’s an easy one to remember–because I think how much your parents have to hate you to name you Bainbridge Wadleigh.”
I don’t think people who give their children awful names like Bainbridge Wadleigh (or Zuma Nesta Rock) consciously hate their children, although that is certainly a logical possibility. More likely, they’re not thinking about their children when they pick awful names. They’re thinking about themselves (for example, how clever they are). But parents who pick inconsiderate names for their children need to understand the message such names send their children–who are likely to think: “My parents must hate me.”
For most children, names like Bainbridge, Jermajesty, Adolph or Messiah come across as unforgivable acts of hostility. What a great way to get the parent-child relationship off to a good start. Not!
For corroboration on this point, check my recent post about Peaches Geldof, who died recently. Sadly, forensic investigators have turned up evidence of a possible heroin overdose. How interesting, in view of what she thought of her name.