Monday, November 3, 2008

What's in a Name?

Sometimes I like to go to the Laundromat. Not because I need to do my laundry. I get that done at home. What I don’t get at home is the chance to eavesdrop on people. I bring a few shirts, a pair of jeans, and maybe some underwear to make the ruse look realistic. Then I sit down and open a book I have no intention of reading. Nothing written by Robert B. Parker or Sue Grafton can compare with the conversations of people who are doing their laundry in public out of necessity.

I’ve heard about people kicking drug habits. I’ve seen drug addicts kick people. I’ve been privy to family squabbles that rival anything on “Wife Swap” or “Supernanny”. I’ve been thoroughly entertained as I listened to women in oversized army fatigue jackets and leggings discuss their plans for Saturday night. I had to struggle not to look up from my faux reading when one promised to “down at least 12 kamikazes and fuck the first thing that asks me to dance…”.

You can’t get this kind of stuff on any of the 280 satellite channels I aimlessly flip through everyday. The girls vying for the affection of Bret Michaels on “Rock of Love” come close, but am I really supposed to believe anyone under 30 is interested in him and shouldn’t I say “affliction” instead of “affection”? Not even on the Sci-Fi channel can I find anything like watching a guy lick the wall dispenser calmly before getting his mini box of Tide. Nor is there, as far as I know, anyone on any show on those channels whose mother screams “Goddamnit, for the last time, get out of that dryer, Talon!”.

Granted, I may have it wrong. When you are so FREAKING COOL that you name your kid after a part of a bird, or any animal, you probably don’t follow the cumbersome rules of conventional spelling. More than likely you grew up listening to Enuff Z’ Nuff, Phish, and Limp Bizkit so your kid’s name, though it’s pronounced the same as the word for an buzzard’s foot, is probably spelled Talyn. “He’s cute but he’s not as smart as his brother, Beaxk.” The “x” being silent.

Why would you do that to your kid? I guess you’re saving yourself the trouble of dressing him funny or walking him to school until he’s a sophomore to make sure he’s at the very least threatened with an ass kicking everyday. When I was little if me and my pals wanted to throw rocks at something, a kid named Talon would’ve taken precedence over houses, cars or even the aviary creatures who sported the very appendages after which the soon to be welted little guy was named.

What’s the process here? Do you first decide that Michael, Jason or even Tyler are simply too commonplace? Forget naming him after anyone in the family. Elliot or Harlan might make an OK middle name but it won’t look good tattooed in old English letters on his neck. “Of course we can’t name him Camaro! What are you, stupid?” No, you’ve got to be different. Forget the fact that your offspring will be the one to suffer for your rampant “outside-the-boxedness“. Do you run thru different animals? Why does Talon make the cut but “Antler”, “Snout” and “Hoof” don‘t? Are there kids in Australia named “Pouch”?

Even if the kid makes it out of high school alive, then what? You’ve limited his career choices with that moniker. Wanna have your colon exam done by a doctor named Talon? How’d you like to have your second grader taught P.E. by coach Talon? If he can’t be a VJ, a drummer, or a Knight, he’s pretty much screwed. Though I guess he might have some success as a divorce attorney or hairdresser.

And lastly, you’ve got to consider the last name. I might be inclined to think a guy named Talon Rexx was cool. Talon Simpson is just not the same, and Talon Goldfarb is a rock-throwing kid’s dream. Take it from someone named David Giovanni Mencarelli.

As I was moving my fake laundry from the washer to the dryer, Talon, who was probably four, sauntered over, unscrewed the lid of my brand new Diet Pepsi , and took a swig. When he was finished, he took it back to the spot where he was playing with his Hot Wheels. When his mother noticed she hollered at him to put it back.

“No, really it’s fine. I’m good.” I told her. “I’ll get another one. It’s the least I can do for him.”

“Ok. Thanks.” She half smiled. Then she noticed her daughter climbing out of her stroller.

“Get back in there, Crimson” she hissed.

I only wished I’d known if it were her idea or the daddy’s to saddle these kids with those names.

I didn’t wanna throw rocks at her if she didn’t deserve it.

1 comment:

schmeck said...

I know this is older, but I have to say, as Echo Cocheva (pronounced Co-keh-vuh)Olsen, I am grateful for my name craziness. I enjoyed it...except for when I worked at Target and everyone had to go, "Echo Echo Echo Echo" everytime they read my name tag. However, now that I'm getting married, my name will be Echo Running Wolf. Just try and tell me that isn't bad ass?