Sunday, August 24, 2008

Names Do Matter

My buddy Johnny Virgil (the restraining order is just a sign of affection) has some comments on Gwen Stefani naming her new child Zuma Nestra Rock. Apparently, Gavin Rossdale, the child's alleged father, had some sort of career-changing epiphany at Zuma Beach in Malibu. Probably something like, "I should have a baby with Gwen Stefani."

It got me thinking about how egotistical you have to be to think that your baby should be named in honor of an important moment in your life. I mean, seriously. Unless that moment is the baby's conception or birth or something, I just can't think of a single excuse for saddling someone for their whole life with a story that doesn't belong to them.

"Hey, Zuma. Cool name. What does it mean?"

"Oh, my dad got really toasted at the beach one time and decided I should think about that every time I wrote my name."

Don't get me wrong -- I'm all about naming your kids something that means something. Family names, religious names, names of historical or current figures, these are all good. I just think parents should try to think beyond some minor incident in their recent lives. After all, it's the child that's going to have to carry this name through his or her life, living up to what it means or living down its weirdness.

When I read all this I was initially appalled at how egocentric the rock star types can be. Then I remembered that there is no limit to how egocentric any of us can be. Rock stars are just more able to get away with it. So next time you are having a baby and thinking about naming it after the cute volleyball player you developed a crush on during the Olympics, please think again. As The Wobbler always said, "The naming of the names is important."

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