Random Thoughts Upon A Graduation Ceremony

1- I am sure I walked across a similar stage once. 1981, Stow, Ohio.  I have the (my name misspelled) diploma.  How come I remember cold nothing of it, except the changing of the tassels at the end and that we threw the hats in the air in strict defiance of rules?

2- Why did none of the kids today throw hats in the air?

3- While I understand the point of making the kids feel like something important just happened – and it did, since those who were socially promoted are now not required to be babysat by the state, and those who were in actual challenging programs achieved something – MUST we have speeches on the theme of “the first day of your life” and “Some final remarks”?  Dude, if you didn’t teach the kids what they need to know for life in 12 years, let it go.  They’re not going to listen to you now.

4- Since when did my kid’s class include a large number of vampire immigrants from Terry Practchett’s Uberwald?  While none of the kids – to my chagrin – appeared to be named Margolotta Amaya Katerina Assumpta Crassina Von Uberwald or even Maledicta, there were students with FIVE given names.  What gives?

5- Thank G-d the sheer silliness of made-up names seems to be receding.  There were only half a dozen of them on the roll.  Look guys, if the way your kid will distinguish him/herself is because you gave him/her a dissonant collection of syllables never used for a name in any language, congratulations.  I believe it’s called the tyranny of low expectations.  Odd names with a base in history, mythology or something else is completely different of course.  (Says the woman who ALMOST got named Naiad Euridice except for her dad being a stick in the mud.)

6 – WHY are all the hats one size fits none, so that the girls look like they’re trying to hide in their hat, and the boys look like Goofy in Disney comics?  Is this to prepare them for the humiliations and inadequacies of adulthood?

7 – Is it wise to tell the kids to follow their passion?  Yes, yes, this is the fairly useless novelist asking, but for the love of heaven, can’t you see Rome is burning?  Or perhaps that the job market is?  Telling them it’s terrible to get up every morning to go to a job they hate is not a good idea.  I’ve done that off and on for months/years when the alternative was starving or the dole.  How about something about the dignity of working and feeding yourself, no matter how humble the occupation?  I mean their passion is fine, if they have a passion for engineering (thank you, G-d, thank you!) But what if their passion is for drawing in chalk on sidewalks, or studying the poetry of tooth paste advertising?  Following your heart into a ditch is… not the best advice.

8 – Supposing they listen to ANYTHING you say, how about telling them that life and great stuff is what happens while you’re busy with something else.  So, be busy, be good to those who depend on you, support yourself, don’t be a mooch, keep your head clear and keep working.  If you see a chance to strike for your passion, do so.  If you have a passion for an artistic endeavor, keep working at it.  BUT do so on the side.  Above all be independent, honest and responsible.  If you can also be a great artist, that’s gravy.

9 – The difference between having a boy and having a girl graduate – parents of girls were all holding bouquets of flowers.  Parents of boys wondered “If I gave him flowers, how puzzled would he look?” then giggled uncontrollably.  COOL parents of boys had cheeseburgers at the ready.

10 – AND way to make me feel old, kids, as I pick my son up and we walk away from his group, I realize they’re shouting … Hashtags at each other.  As in “Hey, Bob, Hashtag flat-cat.”  Kids these days, what will they come up with next?  On the good side the only afros were natural, and none of them were sporting bell bottoms, so the major errors of my own year have been corrected.  The future looks bright.

Update — Hey!  Get off my lawn ;)

145 responses to “Random Thoughts Upon A Graduation Ceremony

  1. ppaulshoward

    Having kids out of HS can make you feel old. [Wink]

    Having a nephew with kids really makes me feel old. [Grin]

  2. # 2 – hats – we were told in 1988 that we would be charged if the hats got damaged. The faculty discouraged us from doing so.
    # 4 – vampires – you should hear the St Louis graduation rolls. We’ve had a very large influx of Bosnians since the late 90’s. Bothans would be cooler, but the Bosnians are pretty decent folk.
    # 7 – I’ve long said that if WWII gave us the Greatest Generation, it will take the Bravest Generation to get us out of the morass we’re in, ie, giving up just about all of the social safety nets, squaring their shoulders to the task at hand, and simply getting things done for themselves.
    # 10 – “so the major errors of my own year have been corrected” Merely delayed. Bell-bottoms WILL come back. THEY MUST!

  3. callanprimer

    I remember watching shoes, rather than looking for vampires. The girls all wore the most incredibly shiny and spiky heels. And walked with that slow, deliberate focus that drunks use in front of the highway patrol.

  4. Every graduation ceremony I have ever had – there have been several – required mounting a temporary platform whose steps were metal grids. And every graduation ceremony I have ever had, I got my high heel shoe hung in said grid, stumbled badly, and ended up leaping down the steps in order to keep from badly hurting myself. In at least one instance I think I probably flashed the audience when my gown and dress beneath flew up. And everyone thought I was smarting off; not one person except my parents realized that I had just escaped certain death at the hands of those )@#^&) steps.

    • That brings memories… Once I ended up jumping out of the back door of a bus which had a baggage compartment under the back half, so the back door had several steps, without taking any of the steps because I lost my balance on the first step. The reason was high 70’s platform sandals. Really high. I was a bit self-conscious about my height (short) in my teens. Well, I was a teen, landed without falling or even hurting my feet, even a little bit.

      Used spike heels a lot during the 80’s too. Back then I was even able to run in them. But I got stuck a lot too. Got to love these picturesque cobblestone streets common around the oldest buildings in my town, put any weight on the heel part of your spike heels while walking on them and you’ll probably get stuck sooner rather than later.

      And now I mostly wear flats. Preferably something like hiking boots, or something else very comfortable. Ah, age.

  5. #3 To a man (old use of the word) every one of my graduating class would have blown off the ‘this is the first day of the rest of your life.’ We could have told you that any new day you wake up is…

    #4 Let us not demand explanation of someone else’s tradition, good or bad. At least we aren’t like certain European countries with lists of ‘approved’ names.

    #5 The Daughter had a classmate named Charstevedrill. Really. Poor girl was named after several male relatives, Charles, Steve and Bill I could figure. Never could I suss the name behind the dr. I agree, I don’t think such names are going to help a child much.

    Once again congratulations to you all.

    • When I read “… the name behind the dr.”, my brain parsed it as “the name behind the doctor”. But now I wonder if I accidentally stumbled on the right answer…

      • You know, I wondered the same. It was dr Bill, and you know…

      • Doctor? Interesting, but the child was of a multi generational welfare family…of course there is always the, um?, unoffical relatives.

        • You know, I can understand people who don’t know better — illiterate teenagers (and because every time anyone mentions stupid names, someone says it’s racist, this seemed to be a white teenager. Illiteracy is equal opportunity) who think Treblinka is a lovely name for a girl, for instance — but for a while there, about twenty years ago I thought that even among university educated parents, you were held in suspicion of being a circus freak if you didn’t AT LEAST spell your kid’s name “creatively” when it was a traditional name. I find this bizarre. Marshall’s first name which he doesn’t like and dropped in seventh grade, is Eric. We routinely have to explain it’s spelled with a c not a k or a ch — so traditional names can be trouble enough. BUT beyond that, the main reason I changed my name is that it was spelled Alice and pronounced Uh-lease (closer to Elise, but not quite) I had to EXPLAIN this every time. As much as I HATED my name (and I did. No, not hated, it just never FELT right. Weirdly, it was not the name my mother wanted for me, but something my dad and his brother decided on the way to the civil registry after I was born at home. Before you think they were awfully high handed, I was severely premature and not expected to live out the week, so I GUESS they thought it didn’t matter) Anyway, as much as I hated my name, I hated Alice pronounced as in the states more. And it was even less my name. I COULD have changed it to Elise, but the only person of that name (pronounced Eh-lee-zah) in Portugal was an OLD lady in the village. She must have been in her nineties and toothless when I was left alone in a kitchen watching her caretaker feed her. I’m fully aware of doing the poor lady an injustice, but ALL I associate with the name is this lady trying to eat fish mash and dribbling it down her chin. I COULDN’T take that for my name. Complicating things was the fact that — having always had a feeling of detachment from my name and feeling like I was impersonating someone by that name — the first time I read the Bible (don’t ask) I had taken a secret name for myself. I named myself Sarah — believe it or not from the line “Sarah laughed” — because the idea of finding something G-d said funny tickled me. And it was something I was quite capable of doing. So, as my citizenship ceremony neared, tired of explaining to EVERYONE I met that my name was spelled a normal way and pronounced an abnormal one, I told my husband I wished I could change it to Sarah. (He was one of two people who knew of my secret name.) He said “Well, then DO it. I’ll get used to it.” I did, and I’m glad I did, even though my being a chick with an accent called Sarah Hoyt gives some people much worry. :-P BUT my experience with a name whose spelling MUST be explained every time and with having people treat me like crazy because I didn’t respond to plain Alice-as-spelled, predisposed me to NOT spell my kids’ names “creatively.” Mind you, we have had nicknames for them since they were born. For a long time Marshall’s was Ichabod, and Robert is still on occasion T-Robs. But that’s different.

          • I have a totally normal first name, Travis, now every Travis I have ever known spelled their name the same way, but I still get asked constantly, “Is that spelled with an e or an i?”

            • Well… I get the h or no h. so I normally just spell it reflexively.

            • Though, calibrating people’s expectations is FUN. I’ve had people spell it Farah, because… I have an accent, so it can’t be plain Sarah. Also, when I was Alice (pronounced Uh-Lease) I was started to find a boss had written it Feliz. He though I was named after the song Feliz Navidad. No, seriously. I only wish I were joking.

              • *ponder* I could see Feliz for, perhaps, a boy; pretend it comes from Felix and is an old family name. >_> And either use as a middle name, or make sure there’s a good, old-fashioned “Peter” or a plain “Roy” in the middle.

                • In this case it was ignorance and xenophobia. I was Portuguese, which meant I grew up in Mexico (A fact I found later from this same worthy) in a hovel and had come to the US to avoid starving (the fact I’m rather light skinned for Mediterranean and my problems with food have always leaned the other way was no match for “Latin” which gave him all this. And he’d once gone on a cruise where they sang Feliz Navidad (remember this was the eighties, back East) words for which the meaning was utterly opaque to him. But because your ear hears sounds it’s unfamiliar with in familiar ways, he heard Uh-Lease as Feliz. Therefore, I was named after that mysterious title of that song. Stupid? Oh, G-d yes. You should have tried working for the critter.

                  • *shudders at that boss*

                  • Robin Munn

                    Oh yes, because Portuguese and Spanish are totally the same language, right?

                    Rolls eyes.

                    Some people are ignorant but not stupid. They will make ignorant mistakes, like confusing Thailand and Taiwan, or thinking that people speak Spanish in Portugal — but when corrected on their error, they will thank you for educating them and won’t make the same mistake again. (Or not more than a few times, however long it takes to sink in.)

                    Others, like your former boss, are both ignorant AND stupid. That combination can’t be cured, and the best thing to do with such people is to stay as far away from them as possible. Which, when it’s your boss, is not easy. You have my sympathies: however long that job lasted, it much have felt like a prison sentence ten times as long.

              • My name is Christmas Carol
                I was born on Christmas Day
                I don’t know who my daddy is
                and mummy’s gone away,

                All I want for Christmas
                is for someone to take me home
                does anyone want,
                a Christmas Carol of their own?

                Sorry, that brought to mind my favorite ‘Christmas Carol’

            • I worked as a volunteer receptionist at one point. Learned to ask people how they spelled their names, no matter how common the name sounded, because you just never know.

              • My wife’s maiden name was Edith Jean Smith. Since her mother’s first name was ALSO Edith, my wife went by Jean all her life. Only the military insists on using her birth name — we’ve even gotten the IRS to accept “Jean E.”. She said one of the hardest parts of being married for her was learning to spell “Weatherford”.

          • My maiden name was Gannaway. (It’s Welsh. Surprise. Actually it’s Genovese – literally – by way of Wales.) And my first name is Stephanie, which was an unusual name at that time; I was named for my father. Not only could none of my relatives spell it (which always got interesting at Christmastime), half my teachers couldn’t pronounce it. And when I was trying to learn to spell my name, Stephanie Gannaway, think about it. Here is this little kid trying to spell this longtail name. I have a recollection of sitting in Mom’s lap on my grandparents’ front porch and trying to parse it out, and asking Mom why on earth they named me something that was so hard to spell! O_o

          • Dad’s name was Victor. He hated it, at least partly because he’d had enough reverses in his life that he didn’t consider it appropriate… when I was coming along, Mother wanted to name me Victor Jr. This, according to family legend, resulted in fights that didn’t include dish-throwing only because both participants were a bit, umm, oversocialized.

            The issue hadn’t been resolved by the time it was necessary to do so. Again according to eyewitnesses, a verbal altercation resulted in Dad storming out, leaving Mother behind with me in her arms and the nurse charged with filling out the birth certificate sitting in a chair nearby. What actually got into the blanks was thus Mother’s act of defiance — her maiden name (Warrick) and her mother’s (Merrell). All the time I was growing up I went by “Merrell”; the most difficult thing about that was convincing people that there were neither “u”s (“Murrell”) nor “i”s (“Merrill”) in it, and getting them to use both double consonants; modulo the fact that I started school the same year “Some Like It Hot” appeared, starring Marilyn Monroe. The potential for insulting modification should be obvious to all here.

            When I got to college I decided the Hell with it, and (as I’ve told others) picked out the only syllable of my given names that sounds like a “normal” Western-society name, and gave that as a use-name with an only slightly-odd spelling variant: “Ric” instead of “Rick”. I don’t really dislike my formal names, but I tend to avoid them when I can simply because of the difficulty of getting them spelled right. At the very least, I don’t meet myself when we line up in alphabetical order.

          • Robin Munn

            Oh, are we talking names then? I said this already in the cliché thread, but my given name at birth was Robert Munn, not Robin Munn. My parents picked Robin as a nickname for me because my grandfather (whose name was also Robert) went by Bob, so that one was taken; I have a cousin named Rob, so that one was taken; and they didn’t like the sound of Bobby or Robby. Hence Robin, which comes from the old diminuitive ending “in” (or sometimes “kin”) attached to the first syllable of Robert. (That diminuitive is something that’s almost vanished from the English language these days, but it still survives in words like “napkin” – a “nappe”, from French, was a cloth covering for the table, and a “nappe-kin” was a little cloth covering.)

            What’s really interesting about my name, though, is that my father was also named Robert, though he goes by his middle name. His father, my grandfather, was also named Robert, and he goes by Bob. His father, my great-grandfather, was also named Robert — as were my g-g-g’father, my g-g-g-g’father, and my g-g-g-g-g’father. I am the seventh Robert Munn in a row.

            And I intend to be the last. If I ever have a son, I think I’m gonna name him Bill, or George — anything but Robert. I don’t hate the name, but I do think it’s a silly tradition that has gone on long enough.

            On the other hand, so did my great-great-grandfather (I think I have the right generation), who gave his first four or five sons names that were not Robert. On the fifth or sixth son, he apparently gave in to pressure from his wife or his father, and/or he ran out of other name ideas, because that son was named Robert — and that’s the son that I happen to be descended from. So watch me have to eat those “I won’t name a son of mine Robert” words in twenty years or so… :-)

    • I had one of the longest names in my class: Alice Maria da Silva Marques de Almeida, and only I suspect because dad wouldn’t let mom put the full de Sousa e Silva of her side in. It was just odd to hear, you know Mary Genevieve Elizabeth Paula Titania Katherine Montgomery. It seemed like rather too much given name for too little surname. :) I’d never seen so many of them together and — for the record — they all seemed standard issue Anglo Saxon.

      • It sounds very Irish Catholic. Were there much ginger in Marshall’s graduating class?

        Was there much ginger? Some instances of case give me much confoozen.

        • Nah. Seems mostly Germanic and English, and, this being the Rockies, a bit of Hispanic (though not a lot. There used to be more.) My kids still look terribly exotic.

      • It would be hard to hear Miss Mary Genevieve Elizabeth Paula Titania Katherine Montgomery’s name period. The rhythm is all caterwumpus.

      • THAT is a name you DO NOT want to hear your mother calling out in full in anger. It’s enough to chill the blood, that ‘un.

        M

        • Oh, I got called it, not just by mom in anger (often) but also in school for awards and stuff.

          Add tot his I was a VERY slow writer till about 11 — I think it was a hand/eye thing similar to what the younger kid has/had. It usually resolves by twelve or nineteen, though sometimes never. THAT name was responsible for my turning in stuff late, as I filled in the name thing in timed tests in the first two/three grades.

          • I gave a character one of those don’t-MAKE-your-mother-call-you-by-it names — Gillian Mary Elizabeth Katherine Paul, shortened by her mates to Gee Pea, then to Jeep — just for that purpose, to have her moral compass in part be driven by what she knew her mother would full-length-name her for.

            M

    • The wife wanted to name our first, had he been a girl, “Layla Lorraine”. Now, I don’t have a problem with either of those names, but all those “Ls” so close together makes my throat close up before I get done.

  6. We graduated on the football field. I remember it more because we were all worried that one of our members (9 months pregnant) would go into labor, than for what did or didn’t happen. Graduating from high school is a big step. From this point on, HE gets to make many of the decisions that will shape his future. It sounds like he’s ready for that.

  7. Oh, just wait 18 or so years for some really “winning” names. The egregious punctuation trend is in full force within certain cultural sub-groups, so just wait.
    True story: my sibling went to college with a girl named Chesna. Her mother liked the airplane name but could not remember exactly how it was spelled or pronounced. I told sib that the young lady should count her lucky stars that her mom hadn’t seen a Beechcraft!

    As to #3 and #8, I’m not sure it matters since at least half the graduates are not listening. Depending on the school, a chunk of the students are already in the Unteachables (see Minding the Campus today), or know that they have to get some form of job ASAP, so all the affirmations are more for the parents.

    • Apparently there’s a trend to name kids after luxury goods. I’m dying to torture characters that way. Little Caviar meets little Cadillac in school and…

      • My neighbors raise hunting dogs, they honest to god named their girl Chaser, and their boy Scout. The lady said if she ever had another kid she was going to name it Gunner.

        • My husband went to school – true dis – with Mary Christmas.

          • At college Beloved Spouse and I knew Mr & Mrs Chovy’s “little girl”, Anne.

            In High School I knew a Jimmy Olsen.

            • My great, great grandmother’s name (first and last, not middle) was Belle Pepper. Apparantly my grandpa liked it because my mom’s name is Belle, and she has a brother named Pepper.

  8. I clearly recall my High School graduation. It was from High School. The Headmaster awarded kittens to students of notable achievement (okay, I confess – I graduated from a fancy boys’ school: we had a headmaster. It was, in fact, Cranbrook whence also matriculated Mitt Romney, Michael Barone and Daniel Ellsberg; last I knew they were still reviewing their admittance procedures looking for the gap that let me in.) The head’s daughter and wife scurried about after the ceremony reclaiming kittens that “he had no business giving out.”

    Somebody or other, presumably notable, said some words, in all probability wise ones — I wouldn’t know; if I was true to form I had a paperback SF novel stashed under the robes and would have utilized the anonymity of the crowd to use my time productively. I AM fairly sure somewhere along the way we were exhorted to do well, do good and remember our alma mater, preferably with regular generous checks.

    Sometime between my first and second baccalaureate degrees I stopped attending graduations and instead asked they mail me my diploma. It is lying around here somewhere, in the bottom of a box. We never went in for paper liners for the catbox, although I expect the parchment would work quite well for the purpose.

    I am sure there is some deep cultural resonance to graduation ceremonies, just as I am sure contemporary America has lost the pitch. I s’pose it is a better exit procedure than the Head (or Principal Weatherbee or Principal Snyder or Dumbledore) walking you to the front entrance and delivering a swift fundamental kick and the admonishment to not come back.

    • I don’t recall whether I asked for notification of future comments, so I mumble mumble

    • I am minded of how, in certain later books, Miles Vorkosigan seems to constantly be trying to get rid of kittens… *snicker*

  9. I have five names! I only use the first one (or the first one and the second, for the IRS), but I’ve got three between the first and last. (One is technically another last name, to honor that side of the family, but it’s a pronunciation that’s used as a first name for many.)

    My kid, alas, only has two middle names, poor thing. (One unusual first name, one slightly less unusual middle name if she ever gets tired of the unusual one, that her maternal grandmother has, the same that-side-of-family one I have, and then the last name.)

    I would have had only two middle names, but apparently the numerology of my name didn’t come out right without adding another one. *snort*

    I didn’t attend my graduation. Didn’t feel like spending the money, and it was an off-season finishing, so I didn’t feel like driving through snow. (I think it was nearly snowed out, too. Heh.)

  10. Laura Runkle

    It’s the shoes that do it for me. Guys are just expected to wear “black shoes, black socks, or dark shoes, black socks, black pants or dark pants, no jeans, if you have trouble with that please contact an administrator.” Lots of the girls were wearing “how the heck can you walk, let alone climb stairs in that?”
    And congratulations!

    • While we were expected to wear proper shoes most of us at my HS graduation wore bathing suits under our robes, as it was held in a hot humid gymnasium…

    • I wore jeans and a t-shirt (you can’t see what you have on under the robe so why does it matter?) and a nice pair ofcowboy boots, since they were the only things visible, they were the only thing that important.

  11. Mostly Cajun has The Name Game — every Sunday he reads the birth announcements and comments. Either Lake Charles, LA is notably weirder than the Springs, or the wave just hasn’t hit you yet.

    • When Robert was born we were SOOOOO profoundly broke that I took a chance to participate in a baby-naming survey for fifty dollars. Sorry, focus group. There were twenty of us new parents in the room. They went around the room. ALL the other kids had bizarre collections of syllables for names. We hit us, and I said “Robert Anson.” ABSOLUTE silence. It hits me that I — in this group of btw, white, middle class, educated parents — I was the weird one. Guy leading the focus group wrinkles his forehead and says “Is he named after a grandfather or something?” And my husband goes. “Yeah. Yeah. After a manner of speaking.” After that our input was ignored.

    • ninety percent of the reason for naming a kid Sizame (pronounced Jane) or whatever was “I wanted to be creative.” What the heck… I write novels. They make up weird names.

      • “I wanted to be creative.”?????????

        You just friggin’ created a human being, dumb*ss!!!!! Instead of being creative about naming it, howzabout being really creative and create a mature functional adult contributor to society? (Okay, probably unfair – you gots no chance o’ that, dumb effin’ cretinous mucking foron.)

        Well, one good thing about bein’ an accountant, i guess: nobody expects ME to be “creative”.

        • Kate Paulk

          Just as well, too. Creative accounting is one of those things that gets interest from all the wrong people :)

          • Ayup – it is also why accountants cultivate an image of lacking any sense of humour. Would you want your taxes done by somebody whose idea of a good joke involves a whoopee cushion full of shaving cream? (We save those for the IRS auditors.)

            • Kate Paulk

              I thought IRS auditors had their sense of humor surgically removed when they took the job? Somehow I can’t see them responding well to the whoopee cushion and shaving cream routine.

              Although I suspect smiley faces in the ledgers would be even less well-received.

    • Ric — as a former Louisiana swamp runner, let me say it’s that Lake Charles is notably weirder than the Springs. It’s all the chemical fumes from the sulfur plants. (I say that with tongue in cheek, since I have several relatives and a couple of high school classmates that live there.)

  12. Daniel Neely

    #5: I only have a single middle name. OTOH by picking Aidan my parents managed to pack in an excessive amount of ‘clever’ anyway. Fortunately I managed to run them ragged enough they didn’t have time to come up with anything like that for the other three.

    #7: PIcking on my family again; I’m working as a software engineer; all three of my siblings pursued their dreams in college. Despite my living and working in the boonies, and sister #2 living in NYC I suspect I’m out-earning all three on an absolute basis; and know I am after adjusting for COL. Unless they eventually get sick of being poor I don’t see this changing in the future. OTOH If sister #1 would’ve earned her music ed degree instead of slacking until given the boot she might have gotten close after getting tenure.

    • Daddy told me that my middle name was given me in case I turned out to be a wuss. Great. Just great. Now, to use that name while I was still living at home, what kind of guts would that take?

      • I think both of your names are fine. I just think — sorry — it takes quite a bit more courage for RES to drop your first name as he did on me with (note word choice) “this is beloved spouse.” :) That is one brave and unprejudiced man. I don’t know if he did it on purpose, I suspect not — but the fact that he can do it not on purpose means that he’s either completely comfortable and brave, or has a WICKED sense of humor. I suspect the answer is “Yes.”

        • or c) unbelievably clueless about some things.

          I can produce testimonials. I can tell tales, but only over drinks … ask me about the hotel lobby incident (Beloved Spouse forbids me to publicly reveal what a clueless gorm she acquired affection for, but if I put it up here innocent monitors and keyboards might suffer. N.B., I brag not about this but that the marriage survived such an act of monumental cluelessness.)

          OTOH, regarding Beloved Spouse’s given name, the cream of the jest is that my given name was supposed to be Rachel. See, I was the second child and I “carried” so differently from my brother that there was NO WAY I was a boy. Mother agreed to the name change only when presented with the irrefutable evidence.

          • ROFL. My younger child was supposed to be Carolina. Same reason. Robert carried so high I couldn’t breathe. Marsh carried so low he could only go lower if he’d strung a hammock between my knees. (Knowing him now, I’m surprised he didn’t at least TRY.) First ultrasounds (we had a lot of them, as I ONLY found out I was pregnant at six months. The first child being the result of aggressive infertility treatment, then three and a half years of nothing didn’t prepare me for the idea I COULD have more.) we were told were of a girl. So… he was born a month late. (So was my FIL, so apparently it’s THAT side) Three days before they induced, they did an ultrasound again. Er… “It’s a boy.” We had to come up with a name at the LAST minute. Marshall was non-negotiable, it was Dan’s grandfather’s name and we’d always intended it for a second son in the unlikely event. BUT Dan became convinced that kids would tease him about it. So we wanted a more normal first name. Dan’s grandfather was Marshall E. Hoyt. We didn’t want that particular name, but why not the same initial? Next thing you know we have Eric Marshall… Who as soon as he reached twelve informed us his name was Marshall. He actually wants to change it and invert the names, which I think is a lot of work, but it’s his choice after 18. I TOLD Dan he was supposed to be Marshall. Does ANYONE ever listen to me? (And no, I had never told the kid that — until actually this year, in much the way I told it here.)

            • We were very careful, with a last name commencing with “S” to avoid initials that could prove … problematic. So, for example, Abigail Sarah was right out, as was Gabriella Abigail … (yeah, we like Abigail. Make something of it.) We saw no sense in hastening a daughter’s desire to marry just to change her name.

              If we’d a boy he was going to be named James Gideon in confidence few would get S____, J.G.

              I trust Marshall has considered that, should he change his name to the order you cite it will render his initials meh?

              That from a guy who, as his sixtieth birthday approaches, still giggles about initials that are “thing” in Latin.

              • He LOVES the idea of his initials being Meh. Actually they’d be Meah, but…

                Er… one of the favorite characters — I mean the ones my betas liked best — in A Few Good Men is Abigail (ducks from things thrown by some of her betas, Sanford included, she suspects) as is the narrator of the fourth book in that sequence (hopefully they’ll ALL do well enough to have a fourth) Blood Of Heroes.

                • As a kid, my best friend’s dad was named Buzzy Stone. And I have a book written by B. S. Jones; I never have been positive if that is a pen name or not. (It’s nonfiction so I wouldn’t think so; on the other hand it is a book of hunting stories, so….maybe)

              • I have wondered for some time if the girl I went to High School with who had the last name, “Bonar” got married young.

              • Yeah, my wife loves the name Heather, but not attached to my surname. No sense DELIBERATELY making the kid an object of derision.

          • My mother’s name is Gareth; she claims her mother wanted a boy and never quite gave up hope.

            (Between this fact and that I knew the author Andre Norton was a gal from early on, I have a very strange opinion on “girl names” and “boy names”…)

            • The great love of my brother’s life in early college was named the Portuguese equivalent of John; my best friend’s sister was named Manuel. When I considered what my name should me, I considered the range of male names as well. BUT I’m lazy, and I don’t like explaining EVERY time. That said, not if we had a girl we’d have named her Carolina — pronounced Caroleenah — after my grandmother. It is still a matter for debate whether at the last minute we’d have taken mercy on her and changed it to Carolynna, to at least give her a chance at not being confused with the state. I’m guessing yeah. Otherwise I’m guessing her name would have been shortened to Lynna before the birth certificate dried.

              • I wanted to be Sam – with Samantha as my female name. *sigh… both my first and middle name were picked by my dad and were family names on his side.

  13. Oz: “Guys. Take a moment to deal with all this. We survived.”
    Buffy: “It was a hell of a battle.”
    Oz: “Not the battle. High school.
    Graduation Day Part Two, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Written by Joss Whedon.
    Congradulations to Sarah and Dan this time, on producing two fine young men in a period of history when they are badly needed.

  14. Throwing caps in the air? HS, undergrad, graduate: yeh, I “walked” for all of them. No one in ANY of my graduating classes threw their caps in the air. For one thing, we all bought our own… I never have understood that silly behavior. *shrugs* Maybe it’s just me.

    Telling kids to follow their passion–isn’t there too much teen pregnancy already? ;-)

  15. pohjalainen

    About names: I have a hyphenated first name, so I guess I do have just one name. And it’s one which was used here pretty much only for two decades, 60’s and 70’s, and it was fairly rare even then. Hyphenated names seem to be in vogue now, again, but mine hasn’t made a comeback.

    One reason why I do feel uncomfortable using my full, real name on the internet, since my surname is not among the most common ones either there is a good chance I may the only person in the world with my name.

    And considering the way things are done in Finland, once you know a person’s name and address you can find out pretty much everything about them, with not that much digging or any particular hacking skills. Everything is in databases, and half of those are public.

    • So, you’re saying having a unique name has its drawbacks?
      I don’t have anything against innovative naming. I only object when it’s unpronounceable and/or REALLY ridiculous. (How ridiculous? Little girl named Latrine. Born same week as my younger son. Should the mother have been prevented from naming her that? Well… no. BUT someone should have told her that’s the name of the toilet. Now, I’m ASSUMING that’s an illiterate teenage mom and — well — I’ve been ignorant myself. I object to people doing this stuff when they KNOW better — like educated people. And yes, I’ve met some. Do I think they should be prevented? No. BUT they ANNOY me. That was my “interesting, most names at this graduation are standard. Good. I don’t feel like odd woman out.”)

      • No, she shouldn’t have been prevented from naming her daughter Latrine. But I wouldn’t have had a problem with someone using a 2by4 to try and knock some sense into her head. (Which along about Junior High that someone could very likely be the daughter)

        • My mom had this thing she called “I would TOTALLY vote not guilty if that kid grew up and murdered everyone involved in the name choice.” I think this is one of those cases.

          • Urban legend, no idea if it’s true: unwed mother has a daughter and immediately starts calling her a name that is pronounced, “Fah-MAIL-ee.” The nurse in the obstetrics/pediatric ward remarks, “Oh, that’s a pretty name. Where did you get it?”
            “Whaddaya mean?” says the mother. “It’s right there on her wrist bracelet. “Female Smith.”

            *RUNS*

            • I knew a guy once, multiple doctorates. His kids were Baby Girl (let’s call it) Smith, Baby Boy Smith and Fat Boy Smith — he didn’t think he had the right to name his kids. THEIR name, he said, was for them to decide when they grew up. The girl at 14 was on the verge of “choosing” — whass’ name, romance with elf, Lord of The Rings (it’s early morning for me and I haven’t had coffee. Now, look… I’ll admit my parents chose wrong. Admittedly Dan and I chose the “wrong” order for Marshall’s name, but a kid has to be called something while small and “Fat Boy” (because he had two boys) is JUST cruel. The truth is most of the time the name the parents’ pick is okay, and heck, if I hadn’t moved here, I’d have used Alice the rest of my life. My circumstances were extraordinary. To think you have no write to “choose” for your kids is insane.

              • Robin Munn

                whass’ name, romance with elf, Lord of The Rings …

                Beren, who married the elf Luthien? Or Aragorn, who married Arwen? Those are the only two I can think of off the top of my head.

      • My full first name is “Rachella” – which is pronounced “Ra-shell-la” and is apparently somewhat common in Europe. I can’t remember how many times people have seen it in print and were able to correctly pronounce it (a teacher once memorably called me “Roach-ella” which put me into tears, though most often I’m called “Rachel”, “Rachelle” or “Rochelle”).

        So many people struggled with it, that I desperately tried to go by my middle name (a French unisex name, but with the boy’s spelling) in grade school, but the teacher very severely put down that idea. (I don’t know why – other students were allowed to go by their middle names. The reason I’d asked to go by my middle name was because she asked if we liked to be called something else!) Never tried that trick again. So I eventually just went by “Chella” because it seemed to be easier to introduce myself as “Shell-la” than “Ra-shell-la”. People could never seem to pronounce my name with the “Ra” in front. >_>; Even if I said the name a few times for them.

        I get the impression from reactions that people who see my name in print before they see me assume I’m black and being otherwise… Well. I think assumptions are made which are just rude all around.

        So, yeah, just agreeing that having an unusual name has drawbacks. And, as the OP above said, one of those is making it ridiculously easy to hunt you down. Thankfully I’ve moved often enough that many of the addresses that are archived online are incorrect.

        (For what it’s worth, I do actually like my name and it wouldn’t sound as pretty if my parents had reversed the order of my first and middle name, but I do wish it were a little more common for all of the reasons rambled about above. Plus I can never find tourist junk with my name on it! ;) [Which is funny in and of itself, because that's where my mom found my name in the first place - on a keychain in a European airport, iirc.])

        • Well, my kids, both of them are de Almeida Hoyt. We are a very odd family so we actually debated which of us (or whether both) would change our family name. We thought a common name was important to a sense of family. Ultimately the fact my brother has continued my family name, but my husband was the only one of his branch likely to continue his made us decide in favor of Hoyt. (Yes, we seriously overthink things, why DO you ask?) But we decided my surname should be acknowledged too, so they’re de Almeida Hoyt non-hyphenated and they can do with it as they please. (In the same way I’m Marques de Almeida, which distinguishes MY branch from all those other Almeidas.) We have at various times discussed having Dan take on de Almeida before the Hoyt, so he matches the rest of us, but the trouble of filing it, etc, never seems worth it. Anyway, I didn’t realize I was creating an obstacle course for every English speaker. Robert’s elementary school diploma is hidden because it reads Robert Anson de Ahm*rda Hoyt. This is the equivalent of Ohsh*t. The kids are most often called Alameda or Almeeda (it’s actually an ei sound as in ein in German) or ridiculous attempts at Spanish accents (which are, of course, completely different from PORTUGUESE. But then Robert was forcibly put in Spanish in elementary AGAINST HIS WISHES because he had to “learn about your culture” until I descended on them like the wrath of mom.) When Robert graduated from High school I was called and asked how to pronounce it. I spent ten minutes training the man… who then pronounced it Alameda. (sigh.) Today in a minor triumph, it was pronounced beautifully. Turns out the man calling it has a Brazilian mother. ;)

          • The idea of the Spanish class makes me cringe with horror. Even if they were correct and his family was Spanish – how rude was their assumption!

            Your family has a beautiful combined surname, by the way.

            • Well… what irked me is that my kid’s culture is AMERICAN. Their ANCESTRY is Portuguese. The two are not the same. If culture were genetic, we’d still be living in the way of Mesopotamia — or perhaps Hominid Bands. I find that confusion the MOST racist thing ever. And totally anti human-wave ;)

              • It seems likely that having the school put him in the Spanish class and his actually learning anything (factual) about his culture (even stipulating it is his culture) is about the same probability as Euclid’s parallel lines meeting.

                I wonder: do parallel lines meet in Euclid, OK? Is that Normal in Illinois? (I wonder even more: what do they find average there?) Okay, I confess: when we were looking at a home in Climax, NC, we were determined, if we bought the house, to name it Storisend.

                Sorry – it’s late and I’m getting punchy.

                • Kate Paulk

                  Where I live, the local joke is that the road from Virginville to Paradise goes through Intercourse. (All PA). It does, too. And I confess Storisend was not the first thing I thought when I saw Climax, NC.

              • I didn’t think of the “American” bit (I suppose it comes from having a mom into genealogy and being curious about the different origins of the family genes), but I do find it insulting as hell that they may have thought “Portuguese? Spanish? Same thing, right?”

                • LOL. If you had a Portuguese name you’d SO be used to this to the point you’re going “Oh, whatevs.” Though if I’m really upset I play with their minds.

          • When I wrote the comment earlier about people thinking Spanish and Portuguese are the same language, I hadn’t yet read this comment.

            And that “Oh, you should learn about your culture” thing is straight out of the identity-politics playbook. You should see yourself as Portuguese-American, or Spanish-American, or German-American, or African-American, or Asian-American — anything but plain old unhyphenated “American”, because that would be raaaacist. Somehow. Take our word for it. And don’t question our authority.

            Okay, removing the “multicultural educator” hat (tall, round, pointed, white, has a word on it that ends with “unce”) now.

            • I know that. And I LOATHE that. Confusing race with culture is evil. It denies human individuality, choice and innovation. It is, by definition, EVIL. Which is why a few unthinking teachers found themselves at the end of a fanged, hammer wielding mother — metaphorically. And one of them — idiot — sent her “best” students to invade my blog taking it as a personal insult when I blogged about culture not being race. The fact that the students kept appealing to “how dare you criticize her! She’s a Teacher!” made me terrified for how they were being educated. Which in a way started by being more public about what I believe, and how I got there.

              • Gah. My youngest has taken to telling me that he’ll believe his teacher over me, BECAUSE that person is a teacher, when I’m explaining that something his teacher told him is wrong, and trying to explain why.

                Ok, the teacher has a certain amount of authority, but don’t shut down listening to the counterargument just because the person’s a teacher. They DO NOT know everything, even in their own subjects.

                • Oh dear. The Daughter got in very great trouble with her second grade teacher when she informed her that snakes were not invertebrates…and that if you wished you could see a lovely display of a snake’s skeleton at the North Carolina State Zoo.

                  The teacher called me in for a conference and outlined the scene to me. I asked what her problem was, observing that The Daughter was correct, snakes are vertebrates. The teacher still thought The Daughter should be disciplined because she challenged A TEACHER.

                  I don’t think that child has ever respected anyone just because they asserted that they were an authority, and after that debacle I doubt that she would ever take it up.

                  • So, sorta like in this letter?

                    • The woman never actually admitted she had been wrong. In a recommendation for a summer program for The Daughter she wrote that the only problem the child had was that her parents were over educated.

                    • oooh, boy, do I know that…

                    • of course the stupid thing is that your little anecdote for reasons known only to the psychiatrist I don’t have, makes me want to go to the natural history museum with Dan and the boys and just bum around for a day. Sigh. Not in the near future.

                    • Yesterday being the anniversary of Johnny Carson’s last show it is serendipitous to be reminded of a favorite moment from his tenure.

                      In those days Tony Randall was a regular guest, often making a point about current concerns over sex and violence in television, film literature (doesn’t help remember the when of this briefly glimpsed appearance, does it?) by summarizing the plots of various operas (hoooo Boy! Doc Wertham woulda plotzed!!! had he known what opera fans exposed their kids to!), Shakespeare and Greek dramas.

                      On the particular night in question Carson surprised Randall with a trivial fact unknown to Tony. Randall’s delight was palpable, like a 7-year old boy discovering water balloons.

                      I’ve long remembered that lesson in how an intelligent, educated, informed person responds to learning something new: not by dismissing their ignorance of an irrelevancy but with delight in new discovery. Only the third-rate intellects are threatened by somebody knowing more about some thing; smart people expect and delight in opportunities to learn more and are confident & secure that they don’t have to be the “smartest in the room.”

                  • My oldest daughter, while in first grade, wrote on about 90 papers “I will not do this”. She was bored stiff! The papers were so similar she knew she’d not get anything out of doing them again, and again, and again. Part of that came from VERY independent parents (difficult to do in the military, but I belonged to a VERY undisciplined group of people – one of the finest groups I’ve ever worked with), and a daughter with a higher-than-average IQ. We finally taught her that she had to appear to conform in order to survive, but it was a struggle.

                    • We finally taught her that she had to appear to conform in order to survive…

                      Which brings us back to ‘passing.’ You are fortunate to be able to have taught your daughter, some ODDs just become even ODDer still when they try to do this. I believe The Daughter finally accepted that there are just some hoops you got to jump and just some boxes that have to be checked — so get it done and get on with it.

                • My mother and father were both teachers, and I was aware from an early age that they were both capable of misspellings and factual errors. My parents often told us to look up stuff if we thought they’d gotten it wrong, because they preferred us to know the truth rather than to believe them always right.

                  You can tell your youngest that.

          • … I’m Marques de Almeida …

            My brain keeps trying to read that as “Marquise de Almeida”. Funny thing is, I don’t even read Regency romance! (Except for Georgette Heyer, because, well, Heyer.)

            • It would be Marchioness… but you are in good company. The reason I don’t REALLY use it is that people either decide it’s Marquez (actually, weirdly, they CAN come from the same branch, but most don’t) OR have that exact reaction and go “oh, you’re nobility.” (Rolls eyes.) It’s pronounced Marksh

              • In British noble titles, yes, it would be Marchioness — but I grew up in France, so “Marquise” is the title that comes to my mind first, from reading Molière and other French authors when I was a kid.

              • Sounds like a drunken Communist.

                And if ever a political philosophy could drive a body to drink …

        • I actually went to school with a girl named Rachella, so I would have been one of the few people who could have pronounced it correctly :)

          And she was white also.

          • Hee. :3 Every once in awhile I do hear someone say they’ve known a “Rachella” – but I’ve never met one myself. I’m holding out for a day where someone can say, “I know/have known…!” and can introduce me. xD What that would accomplish, I have no idea.

            • I went to school with a Rachel whose name was pronounced Rashell … so… :) We often ended up in the “noisy corner” together — you know, where students are put who ask too many questions. Which was totally unfair as she was very quiet. But she smiled a lot…

        • I am firmly convinced that having a name, period, is problematic. Anonymous had the right idea, but I bet he had a Dickens of a time cashing checks.

          • Yes, but while I could call myself X&^% imagine how my fans would refer to me. “Curseword in comic denotation has a book out!” “Oh, how is it?” “I don’t know. Can’t get past her name.”

      • I sometimes dig around the Population Register Center Name Service for fun (there are search option, for first names and for surnames). There seem to be under ten Tarzans in Finland, less than thirty Galadriels, for example. You used to be able to get exact numbers even for very rare names, but the search pages went for a more vague approach a year or two ago, and there used to be a separate search for males and females. As far as I remember there were 3 Tarzans, back when I checked that name when they gave exact numbers, plus they were all second names – whether the name is first, second or third is also one fact which is not given anymore. Our lords and masters have gotten a bit more concerned about privacy during the last five years, thank god, at least when it comes to private citizens digging up data about other private citizens.

        Here you can have only three first names, names have to be registered in two months after the child has been born and if the name is something which have not been used before you need to get it approved – Latrine would probably not be allowed here (there seem to be none right now anyway), but if it by some fluke got approved the next Latrine could probably be named without that process. Might work if an adult Latrine moved here and wanted the same name to her kid. Might also work if an adult wanted to change her name to Latrine – adults can change their first names once simply by filling up a form and filing it with public notary, but if you want to do it a second time it gets way more complicated.

        Yep, Finland is a bit more nanny statish country than USA.

        • And yep, having a possibly unique name, or even just a rare name, can cramp your style a bit. Since I can’t be mixed with that other, say, Marja Lahtinen (both very common first and surnames for my age group, so there are several Ms M. Lahtinens around) there has always been that feel that it’s really better if I don’t, say, get speeding tickets, or goof off noticeably in a party even if most people there are not ones I know. Can’t claim mistaken identity if names are named. Worse now with internet. :)

        • Portugal had the charming habit of changing names to “Portuguese variant” — this was particularly insane when kids came home with their immigrant parents. I had a student called Martinha. She’d been born in France and was called Martine. To make it Portuguese required a NEVER USED anymore nineteenth century name. Now I think they allow everything. Shrug.

          • Use of Portuguese variants for notable historical individuals? In Finnish history books, for example, James I still tends to be ‘Jaakko I’, or else both names are mentioned. People born after about late 19th got to keep their own names though, and Russians always got at least a close approximation, pronounced name written as it sounds like using our alphabet (Finnish wasn’t used for much of anything official during the Swedish rule, but Russians were a lot more lenient after they took over, they went for the nicer way to encourage conquered people to play nice, that ‘we’re better than your old rulers, yes?’ one).

            But there are also exceptions. Never figured out the exact rules for the system, but I guess it’s whether some name happened to be even close to something which was used here at the time that custom developed, or not. And Russians, well, plenty of Russian immigrants during the 19th century and right after the bolshevik revolution, so Russian names were very familiar to the people who wrote the books.

            Earlier upper classes spoke Swedish and Russian, some merchants and educated people knew, and used, German, only the lower classes and farmers spoke Finnish, until the idea of ‘Finland’ was born during the 19th century and lots of the ‘better’ people learned Finnish and even changed their names to the Finnish variants. We have a Swedish speaking minority here, and there is still, now, some resentment towards them from the Finnish speakers, even though most of them aren’t even descendants of the upper classes they still can get this ‘Swedish speaking better people’ gibe thrown at them (said in Swedish).

      • Daniel Neely

        Coworkers of mine, both college educated named their son Gunner a few years ago. I’m waiting for him to get expelled from school because his name violates a zero tolerance policy.

  16. I vaguely remember my high school graduation. It wasn’t that it was ages ago (I think it was in 1998?) – it’s just that I wasn’t connected to it. I graduated from a school I had only been one semester in. If I could have, I would have skipped the ceremony. xD

    I do distinctly remember that no one seemed to know which side the tassel was meant to be on at any given time. I think we threw our caps, but like the tassel thing, no one was really quite sure when to do it so I think it was just a small group of students who did it and very half-hearted.

    I just know that I was hideously bored, found the speaking boring and borderline insulting (I have no idea what was said), and feeling a bit cold and fairly hungry and distinctly in need of a nap.

  17. Not even simple names are any guarantee.

    When my husband and I contemplated naming kids, it turned out that the only family name we had in common (Netherlands vs Lithuania) was “Adolf.” I’m afraid that one’s going to have to stay retired for at least another generation.

    • ROFL. You know, it’s weird, but one of Heyer’s characters is Adolf, and one can’t help feeling a little creeped out by it, even though of course it was fine in the regency. I think it must have bothered her halfway through, because the character’s nickname is Gillie (I THINK. It’s been a while.)

    • “Adolph” will stay as retired as “Judas” for a long time.

        • Hmm. Now I have this urge to write a short story about aliens landing. The hero is called Adolph Himmler, and the spaceship lands in his onion field…

          • Howabout a character named Christopher — shortened to “Chick” — Louis Gruber?

            Please allow me to introduce myself
            I’m a man of wealth and taste
            I’ve been around for a long, long year
            Stole many a man’s soul and faith
            And I was around when Jesus Christ
            Had his moment of doubt and pain
            Made damn sure that Pilate
            Washed his hands and sealed his fate
            Pleased to meet you
            “Chick” L. Gruber is my name.”

      • My class president was a guy named Adolpho, and of course everybody had always called him Adolf. (Family name. Rumor had it that his second name was Benito, also a family name. I believe it.)

        Needless to say, it was a big honking problem for his political ambitions, but he’s made good all the same because he’s smart and good-natured and looks extremely Italian and pudgy. He ended up doing behind-the-scenes politicking, and then went into the legal/judicial side of things. I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to have much more influence than behind the scenes stuff in state politics, though.

    • I knew someone in college with a brother named Adolphus. He went by Martin (his middle name). And yes, they are Lutheran.

  18. Let’s be fair – with very rare exception, do the kids care, or even listen to the graduation speeches? Most want to get out soon so they can celebrate, usually with large amounts of their favorite beverage. A great speech would be: “You won’t remember anything I say five minutes after we’re done. Enjoy your life, work hard, and don’t end up in jail.”

    • THAT’s what I thought, particularly for a weekday morning graduation, with parents who have to go back to work, as both my husband and I did. (Actually I had a repairman coming to the house on a tight schedule for something vital and it was today or next week — vital… okay, it’s the water heater. Four people. Four showers. Malfunctioning water heater. NOT A WEEK WITHOUT.) I mean, I know it’s an occasion for some pomp (and circumstance) but REALLY.

  19. Thank you for reminding me of a sunny day in 1973. And my daughter’s Salutatorian speech. And my son’s school weightlifting record.

    I’m less embarrassed of bell-bottoms than I am of polyester leisure suits.

  20. Pingback: Link Feast For Writers vol. 9 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog

  21. Serendipitous article, likely inspired in much the same way:

    What not to name the baby
    By Jim Mullen
    http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Sophia was the No. 1 name for baby girls in 2011. It comes from the Greek word for “wisdom.” Jacob, the No. 1 name for boys, has its roots in the Bible. Mason, the No. 2 name for boys, means the child of a D-list celebrity. It can also mean a bricklayer or a member of a secret society, but much more important, it is what Kourtney Kardashian named her baby, and she is obviously a role model for young parents. Kourtney is American English for “my mother can’t spell.”

    If young parents have one guiding principle, it is this: We will never do anything the way our parents did — we are going to do things right. We will never give our children silly names they will hate. We will never make them eat food they don’t like. We will never make them go to bed early. We will never embarrass them in public. They will have their own space. They will get a high-powered sports car the moment they turn 16. We will never snoop on them or try to see what they’ve been looking at on the Internet.

    That lasts about a month. But by then, the damage is done. The parents have already named the kid Snoop or Snooki or Picabo or Hagbard, which is startling when you realize that they have been thinking of names from the moment they knew they were going to have a baby. Aside from those women you occasionally read about who have 9-pound babies and then say, “I had no idea I was pregnant,” no parent slaps his or her forehead as the umbilical cord is cut and says, “Oh, we forgot to think about a name! What should we call the baby?”
    [MORE: http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0512/mullen.php3 ]

    • er… RES — I ALMOST was one of those women and Marsh was 8.5 lbs See, I lost weight during the pregnancy, so I actually went DOWN a pants size and never wore maternity clothing. IF I hadn’t got a cold, and my doctor hadn’t insisted on a pregnancy test before giving me high test anti-biotics, I’d have presented at the ER with “abdominal distress” and found myself holding “bouncing baby boy.” (I lie. Mostly he slept.)