what#039;s in a name?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 21, 2004

As you grow older, there are things you appreciate about your parents that you never really thought about as a child.

Names, for instance. Mama and Daddy named their three girls Deborah, Sara and Angela, classic names – and you can’t go wrong with a classic.

Over time, Deborah became ‘Debbie’ and ‘Deb’. I morphed into ‘Angie’ as a college student and it stuck. (It’s kind of difficult to shorten Sara, though old friends still call her Sara Jo).

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I think it is safe to say we all like our names and appreciate our parents’ choice of monikers for the three of us.

Of course, this is a free country where a person can name their child pretty much anything they want. But some folks sure do get carried away with their freedoms.

For example, why would someone want to name a child after a fruit?

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s little bundle of joy is named Apple. I think apples taste great, but so do bacon and grits (and I will never understand why they named that Montgomery baseball team the Biscuits – Yankee foolishness, if you ask me).

The newest addition to David and Courtney Cox-Arquette's family is little Coco. While I am a great admirer of famed designer Coco Chanel, I’d prefer to borrow her pearls, not her moniker.

‘Coco’ sounds a bit too much like a French poodle or pet parrot. (It also makes me think of sugar-laden cereal. Meet her brother, Chocula.)

Some celebs seem stuck in the hippy-dippy 70s (case in point: Casey Affleck’s new son, Indiana August.) What are they going to name his future sister? (Why, Ohio November, of course.)

So will we now be inundated with tots of the rich and famous saddled with names like ‘Strawberry’, ‘Pear’, and ‘Butterscotch’? I shudder to think.

Names, like so many other things, have a way of going in and out of fashion. The ‘Ethels’ and ‘Gertrudes’ of past generations are the ‘Ambers’ and ‘Caitlins’ of today. I suppose it would be boring if every generation stuck to the same exact short list of acceptable names.

Still, some people seem to be under the influence of an illegal substance when they fill out those birth certificates.

This is what I think: Children should not be named after cars, computers, appliances or anything edible. They should not be saddled with names so long and unpronounceable, names riddled with nonsensical punctuation marks, no one will ever be able to remember how to say it or spell it.

Life is hard enough without making it tougher on your child from the get go, don’t you think?

And Mama and Daddy – thanks for getting it right.