Up late on IM with Julia, cracking each other up with our clever pun-sterisms. Someone we know – it’s important in this case to make the distinction between “friend” and “someone we know” – just named their kid a ridiculously weird name that was just begging to be manipulated for our amusement. As luck would have it, this name rhymed with plenty of unflattering things, and was easy pun-bait for unlimited late-night witticisms.

This got me thinking about parents who give their kids weird names. I’ve known some people with unusual or downright odd names, and often pondered what on earth their parents were thinking.

    Sarvas Barry. One of my cousins went to school with this kid, and i remember being floored by it at the graduation ceremony. If your last name is Barry (or worse yet, Berry) you don’t name your kid after anything that is edible and can be picked off a shrub. For those of you not familiar with the botanical reference, sarvas berries are like choke cherries and are common in the rocky mountain region.

    Forrest Green. I’ve known several guys named Forrest, and although it’s an uncommon name i wouldn’t call it unnecessarily odd by itself. But if your last name is Green, or Grove, or Lawn… parents, “Forrest” should not be on your short list.

    Crystal Chanda Leir. I swear i’m not making these up. I saw this in the credits for a movie a while ago, and had to rewind and read it twice. It wasn’t one of those comedies where they pad the credits with last-minute jokes, either. Leir seems like a pretty normal surname… the rest of that, i can only venture is drug-induced.

    Jermaine Jackson’s entire family. If you can’t be the weirdest Jackson (since Micheal totally has that covered) you can at least be the Jackson with the most ridiculously named kid, and that seems to be the title Jermaine’s shooting for with his son, Jermajesty. Not to be outdone by a landslide, Jacko’s offspring go by Prince Micheal Jackson I and II.

    Fifi Trixibelle. I looked this one up, and apparently Bob Geldof and Paula Yates actually attached this moniker to their human child, and not a purse-sized dog. A shame, too, because it would have looked so cute on a studded collar.

I am of course not the first person to document this trend, and i found some interesting compilations elsewhere that spawned a few guffaws. Some are so jaw-dropping that i can’t believe they’re true. Sparkle? Delicious? Spontaneous? Misty Amber Day? What are the excuses these people give to their families who (hopefully) question their sanity?

What i find to be the most ridiculously pathetic – and yet, totally American – new spin on this is naming children after brand names. According to the social security administration, children named Timberland, Reebok, Camry, and Gouda are walking the streets as we speak. In 2000 alone 49 kids were christened “Canon”, and there were 11 Bentleys, five Jaguars, and a Xerox. Xerox?? I knew a girl in elementary school with a last name that started with “Zu” and she hated being at the end of every list. Can you imagine what it’s like to be named Xerox? You can’t even type your name into a telephone keypad.

Then there’s the mis-spelling technique. Also characteristically American; where else would people be so proud of being poorly educated that they pass the legacy on to future generations?

    Tada (pronounced Today)

    Yestrada (pronounced Yesterday)

    Tamaro (pronounced Tomorrow)

    Orangejello (pronounced O-Ron-Gze-Lo)

    Fasy (Like Fozzy bear)

    Imunique (sound it out, license-plate style)

    Aldo Sachs (like the instrument)

As a person with a pretty normal name, i’m still constantly plagued with incorrect spellings (with a “y” instead of an “i”), transpositions (i’ve received gifts from my family addressed to “Brain”) and plain butcherisms of my fairly simple 9-letter, 3-syllable, first and last name composed of normal, english phonic sounds and devoid of any action verbs, excessive alliteration or obnoxious pop culture references. I can’t imagine what it must be like to function as Tinkerwhistle Fluffbutton or Bluekoolaid Rogershammerstein or Englebert Humperdink. I just think it’s all getting pretty ridiculous, and maybe parents need to let their kid just be unique of its own accord, without turning unique into weird by branding them with a lifetime of ridicule, misspellings and “i’m sorry, could you repeat that?”