Friday, January 3, 2014
Giving your child a notorious name
Or, "Why I didn't write a New Year's post."
Or, "The obligatory announcement of the birth of my second child, related to pop culture so it's appropriate for this blog."
I was actually writing a year-end wrap-up post ... until I heard that the doctors were unhappy with my wife's blood pressure, so we needed to go to the hospital to have our baby induced.
This was New Year's Eve, mind you.
We checked into the hospital at about 1:30 p.m., which means we really didn't know whether the baby would be born in 2013 or 2014 ... and if 2014, whether it would be 2014 all over the world when he/she came into existence.
To make a long story short, we had a baby boy at 2:17 a.m. on January 1st ... making it early to mid-morning on December 31st in all parts of the United States. (Except Hawaii, I guess, where we do also have relatives who were certainly still asleep.)
Because of some distress while my wife was dilating, the doctors made the decision to deliver him via c-section, meaning more days of recovery in the hospital and weeks of recovery at home, but a near certainty of maintaining the health of both mother and baby. I'm pleased to say that that's how it turned out.
What our son didn't have, for well over 24 hours, was a name. In fact, it got to the point where one of my Facebook friends was egging me on, asking my other Facebook friends to help us choose a name. It's funny, as this was not even a very good friend of mine, nor would she think she was. So it seemed a bit bold of her, to say the least.
Part of the reason it took us so long to name him was that we hadn't even come up with a list of finalists -- three finalists, to be exact -- until the weekend before. Out of those three, we were pretty sure of the one it would be. However, my wife was exhausted from sleep deprivation and the ordeal she had been through, so she didn't want to commit in that state. She wanted to take the night of January 1st to sleep on it.
Another reason we were hesitant, if only slightly, was because we were planning to give our son a notorious name.
No, we didn't name him Darth, or Adolf, or Ebenezer, or any other name that's pretty much only associated with a single notorious character. (Then again, the fictional two of those three redeemed themselves in the end.) The name we chose, though, was indeed a name that is very widely associated with a notorious character in pop culture -- not a character who is evil, necessarily, but a character who does bad things. That's about as specific as I'll get. Except also to say that this is by far the most immediate association with this name, and most people will immediately think of the character when they hear our son's name.
You may wonder why we would do this, would willingly associate our child with this notorious character throughout his whole life. Well, one answer is, we really couldn't think of anything else that we both agreed on. I'll admit it now: Even the other two finalist names were not names that I loved. I don't know that I love this one either, but it was the name I liked most that my wife had similarly strong feelings about.
Another answer is, over time it won't matter at all. This pop culture character has seen his moment in the sun and will now start to recede into becoming something only today's teens and onward really remember. By the time our son is a teen, no one will be teasing him about the association, because they simply won't know the association.
In a way, it's a similar thing to what we hope will ultimately happen with our other son, who was inadvertently named after a minor character in the Twilight series, as I discussed here. (I noticed I was willing to announce our first son's name on this blog, but not our second. I'm funny that way.) In other words, the moment of the greatest pop culture relevance of the name will pass, and then the name will no longer be burdened by its negative cultural associations.
Yet another answer is ... it's just a cool name.
Anyway, I've accomplished what I set out to accomplish: Shared the news with you, and given an explanation in advance why my next post may still be a couple days off.