Spelling Inanities

The nice young girl who handed me my lunch yesterday reminded me of a pet peeve of mine. She was very sweet, and I had no problems with her. I do, however, think her parents should be slapped. Why? Her name was Maegan. I have a huge problem with the idiots that think spelling your kid’s name in a unique, creative, unmistakable fashion is something worth doing.

This is distinct from giving your kid a name like Phinneas or Sedgwick or some similarly outré moniker. You want to doom your kid to a lifetime of mockery, be my guest. Some of the points I’m going to raise apply to the bizarro names as well, but they aren’t my main focus.

What you have done by giving your kid an alternative spelling to a common name is to guarantee that none of your child’s documentation as they pass through life will be correct. You have consigned your offspring to a lifetime of trying to get people to correct the spelling of their name on business cards, tax documents, driving licenses, property deeds, military enlistment records and every other scrap of paper that modern society demands. Good job, nitwits. I’m sure your kid will appreciate the lifetime of unceasing arguments with bureaucrats everywhere. God knows I do, and my name isn’t all that unusual.

Do you think that anybody else on the planet cares that it’s “Catherine” spelled with two Xs and an umlaut? Before you spout off some ill-informed nonsense, I’ll answer that for you: no, they don’t. When it’s pronounced, it doesn’t matter how it’s spelled, does it? Once you write it down, people think “Goddamn, but you people can’t spell.” Nobody thinks “How clever!” or “How unusual!” or “How unique!” People think you smoked crack in an alleyway before filling out your child’s birth certificate. I don’t know about you, but that ain’t the impression I like to give the world. I’m sure your kid wants to spend her life answering the question “Were your parents stupid, or what?”

Here comes the hardest point of all for some of you to grasp. What does it mean when you ask people’s opinions on what to name your kid and they make a weird face and say “That’s… nice”? It means they think you have your head so firmly implanted up your ass that it’s going to take a team of spelunkers and a week’s worth of blasting to extract your cranium. The number of people who will give you an honest opinion on what you’re about to name your child is vanishingly small. It approaches zero for most of you, unless you know a lot of insensitive assholes like me. I sincerely doubt that’s the case. So, you’re going to have to do the hard work of figuring out when you’re about to make a tragic mistake all by your damn self. Of course, if you’re considering naming a child “Madysyn” or some such tripe, your judgement and decision making skills are already flawed.

On this note, I present to you Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing. The comments are instructive for those of you considering the wide range of awfulness that can be perpetrated on a child. The reactions you get from this site are much more in line with what the reaction of the general public will be.


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