KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]

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Choosing your children's names is not a simple task

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Reading Matt's post about his son reminded me of the process we went through last year when choosing our son's name (actually, multiply this by two, since we didn't know the gender[6]). It must have been a lot easier to choose the names of your children a hundred years ago. You just go back up the family tree to the first available name, boom you're done. These days, a lot more comes into play, such as choosing names from a hundred years ago.

Some of the names I favored for boys were Asher, Eli, Levi, Samuel, Jared and Owen[4]. So I put together a few combinations of those names and went through a thought process:

#1: Would this get my kid beat up on the playground?
#2: Would these initials spell a word that he or she would be taunted by for years to come?
#3: Does the first name rhyme with a part of the body that kids find fascinating and gross?

Early on I realized that Asher Owen Lemson just wasn't going to work - not because of where we work, but because we respect the right of the CD-ROM to actually be used in a computer rather than as a coaster. For a related reason, Levi Owen Lemson was out - reminds me too much of annoying teenagers, or most of the average folk who hang out on the net[2]. And Samuel Owen Lemson wasn't an opportune combination either[1]!

But a few months and one “It's a boy!“[6] later, we ended up with Jared Samuel[5], because my husband coincidentally had a say in the process, and he didn't share my fascination with biblical names. I couldn't find a name that starts with P that I liked, so that we could do JPL, but JSL has some interesting meanings as well.

[1] For some reason, the scene with the space ship/rocket at the end of Akira always sticks in my mind because the letters on the ship were “SOL”. Was that an Engrish accident?
[2] Although I do remember using this a lot on BBSes in grade school. Along with “re”, which is the quick way to greet someone who returns after a short absence because apparently “re-hello” or “re-hi” is too hard to type.[8]
[3] Who apparently has an army now... who knew?[7]
[4] Not sure what it is with biblical names that I like so much. Perhaps that they're still recognizable as first names (rather than the last names of dead presidents), yet they are rare enough that you're not likely to have 6 of them in the same class, resulting in at least one of them forever getting branded with another identifier such as the initial of a last name, or a location.
[5] If you look at Jared's rating on the SSA's site, you can see that it was pretty steady in its ranking for the 90s, and then jumped up 17% from 2000 to 2001, and an additional 22% the year after that. Methinks subway's Jared Fogle[3] has something to do with this.
[6] For anyone who is or plans on becoming pregnant, I highly recommend waiting to find out the gender. It was a fantastic surprise, and getting that surprise while lying on a table with a really cold metal instrument pressed to your skin (i.e. the mid-point ultrasound) just doesn't have the same effect of hearing those words and then having a really warm but screaming, squiggly and screamy pile of cuteness plopped in your arms and realizing that your life will never, ever ever ever be the same.

[7] I really need to get my son a blog - some of the top Google hits for his name are odd.
[8] And this wasn't even on the 300 baud servers... those folks, I'll give them their umount since they apparently really believe that removing just one letter is going to make a significant difference. What was wrong with umnt, I ask you? To this day, I curse the skies whenever I am forced to type that wholly unnecessary o and u. And by the time I got to play with it, the actual path was /mnt but the command was still umount. Not to get off on a rant here...

Comments
  • Adding to the list

    #1: Would this get my kid beat up on the playground?
    #2: Would these initials spell a word that he or she would be taunted by for years to come?
    #3: Does the first name rhyme with a part of the body that kids find fascinating and gross?

    I used a simple sentence when naming my two boys:

    HEY! Give me your lunch money, _blank_

    While this is quite similar to #1, it does present its own flavor.

  • I picked the names of our first two children so my wife is insistent that she picks the new one.

    Unfortunately, with a surname like Field, I won't be calling any of my children anything like poppy, daisy etc...

  • "[1] For some reason, the scene with the space ship/rocket at the end of Akira always sticks in my mind because the letters on the ship were “SOL”. Was that an Engrish accident?"

    What are you on about?

  • Hey, I like the name Jared. It's my nephew's name, and he's no black porn star. At least he wasn't last time I looked.

    Our little girl is called Phoebe Rose. I admit I hadn't considered any acronym implications - PRT doesn't ring any bells. Apart from Personal Rapid Transport, maybe?

  • Your method of using footnotes is intriguing.

  • We had fun naming our three as well, somehow we ended up with three "M" names. Hopefully that won't traumatize them too much. By the way, nice new pic, very cute.

  • For the love of <%# user.DeityName %>, please make sure to consider the username. My parents didn't. So I have a last name (Rieck) that's a homonym for "pervaded with an unpleasant aroma" and a user name (prieck) that people inevitably start shortening to "prick".

    So also consider (in this day and age) 1) first initial last name. 2) same as one, but shortened to six or eight characters 3) first name, last initial 4) same as 3 but shortened to six or eight characters. [As a consultant, I've been assigned lots of different schemes of username]

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