Rich folks running out of names

By Jeff Linville -

Jeff Linville News Editor

It’s said that money can’t buy happiness.

Perhaps that’s true, but the kind of problems well-off people have are a bit different than poor folks.

Some of us are wondering which bill we can pay on time, and which one will have to wait until our next paycheck. Wealthy people worry about the percentage of net revenue they’ll have when they sell real estate or play the stock market.

On the bright side, at least we don’t have to waste time trying to figure out what to call our sons. Have you noticed how parents are increasingly stealing traditional preppy boy names and giving them to girls?

In some desire to make their daughters unique, parents are devising new ways to spell names we all know. At the same time, some boy names have been commandeered so frequently for girls that parents don’t use them for sons anymore.

One of the aggravating parts of working in the newspaper business is taking a group photo and then trying to get everyone’s names before they disperse. This task is made a lot harder when there are multiple ways to spell something.

“Was that Haley or Hailey or Haillie or Hallie or Hayley or Haylee?” I’ve had every one of those variations. I have to make everyone spell the full name — even if it’s Bob because I’m sure one of these days I’ll find a Baub.

A friend of mine works in health care in Tennessee. She told me that one day a mother bit her head off for not pronouncing her daughter’s name properly. What was the problem? The three-syllable name didn’t have a single vowel. There were three apostrophes spread out where the vowels would be.

I told her she should make a list of all the odd names and make a coffee table book about it one day. Who would believe there is a girl in elementary school out there named Lemonada?

Then we have the stolen names like Taylor, Hunter and Jordan. According to one survey I saw on the Today show of the top baby names, there is a growing trend for other boy names like Ryan, Sawyer, Dallas and Ellis.

Other names showing up in the top girls’ names were August, Spencer, Ezra, Tyler, Carson, Lincoln, Austin, Noah, Evan, Mason, Anderson, Sullivan, Jules, Wyatt, Aiden, Kyle, Levi, Everett, Wesley, Jasper, Maxwell, James, Michael, Reed, Landon, Brady, Julian, Barrett, Killian, Blaise, Jackson, Davis, Jonah, Connor, Liam and Sebastian.

Wow, that’s a lot of names. And let’s not forget the ones that already have been stolen so long we forget they ever were for boys like Madison, Addison, Harper and Alexis.

Just in the past decade, some other boy names have begun to show up increasingly for girls like Chandler, Channing, Campbell, Blake, Baylor, Ashton, Palmer, Grayson, Lane, Maddox, Ramsey, Jensen, Paxton, Tanner, Dawson, Chase and Beau.

That’s a heck of a lot of names. But let’s face it, almost all of those names are a bit highfalutin for blue-collar workers. Other than James and Michael, I can’t imagine using any of those names for a son of mine.

Those are the kind of names that middle-class parents and richer love to give their boys. Garbage men and grease monkeys don’t call their sons Maddox.

My cousins and I have names like Jeff, Charlie, Tommy, Richard, Ronnie, Kenny, Wayne, Mitch, David and Donnie. Good ol’ American names.

In one of his standup routines, George Carlin made fun of wimpy-sounding names. Whatever happened to Eddie and Joey and Bill, he asked.

“Soft names make soft boys,” he exclaimed. He said he’d bet money on Nicky, Vinnie and Tony beating the crap out of Todd, Kyle and Tucker.

I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I would be worried that a son of mine named Grayson would get his lunch money taken away by Lou.

If all the boy names get stolen, does that mean the wealthy will start stealing some girl names in return? I’d love to see rich folks using some traditional names that don’t get used anymore.

When is the last time you heard of a parent naming a daughter Barbara? It was a top-10 name for three decades, according to one article I saw, but now it’s barely in the top 1,000.

How about bringing back Nanette, Claudine, Sandra, Doris, Lucille, Lillian and Mildred? Laverne and Shirley anyone? Veronica still sounds pretty modern to me, but for some reason it’s not that popular.

Maybe some of the more butch-sounding names could go to guys like Jean, instead of the Gene spelling. Remember the old WWII poster of Rosie the Riveter? Rosey Grier was a football player who made the Pro Bowl twice, so there is some validity to the idea.

Maude doesn’t even sound like a girl’s name. And when I think of the name, I remember Bea Arthur, who wasn’t exactly feminine herself. Maude Jackson sounds like he could play nose tackle for the Steelers.

To sell the idea to modern parents, however, we might have to use some current methods like social media trending, flash mobs or crowd-sourcing.

I think I might have to go get a brew with Frank and Bob to get this rich taste out of my mouth.

Jeff Linville News Editor Linville News Editor

By Jeff Linville

Jeff is the news editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

Jeff is the news editor and can be reached at 415-4692.

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