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The name game

Published:Friday | August 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The word 'placenta' refers to 'a flattened circular organ in the uterus of pregnant eutherian mammals, nourishing and maintaining the fetus through the umbilical cord' or, in botany, 'part of the ovary wall to which the ovules are attached'.

In Jamaica, this name was given to a poor, unfortunate infant girl whose parents, hopefully, loved the sound of the name without knowing what it meant. Another pair of proud parents named their infant 'Syphilis'.

Now, the aptly named chief executive officer of the Registrar General's Department (RGD), Deirdre English Gosse, wants to put a stop to some of these names that will create problems for the children later in life. Edmond Campbell of the Jamaica Gleaner reports that Mrs English Gosse will recommend that restrictions should be placed on some names that are assigned to newborns. Mrs English Gosse is quoted as saying, "We are not going to infringe (parents') rights but we want to have some kind of restrictions. To name a baby 'Syphilis', come on!" Mrs English Gosse suggested that if some names are placed on a prohibited list and parents insist that they want to use those names, they would have the option of taking the RGD to court. For example, the parents of the child who was named 'Syphilis' have since done a deed poll to change the child's name. However, the Bolt family seemed to have the right surname for their son's athletic ability and the Gayle family name proved to be more than a windfall for their son's batting prowess.


Worse names


Jamaicans are far from alone in the weird or inappropriate names stakes. In the Republic of Singapore, there is a child named 'Batman Bin Suparman' who, if he is inclined to change his name, would end up a 'has Bin'. One parent, surnamed Park, named his child 'Jurassic' and in Indiana there is a 'Tyrannosaurus Rex Mullens'. Matthew Correspondent is the European correspondent of the BBC news and fortunately he did not have to report the arrest in Madison of someone named, '3eeZow Boo-Boo Zoppity-bop-Bop-Bop'. This name seems to have been self-inflicted.

In 2011, Britain's Daily Mail highlighted some of the new names people, dissatisfied with their old names, gave themselves. Charlotte Price, a beauty therapist, became 'Pink Sparkly And All Things Nice' but is happy with being called, 'Pink Nice'. She said she is obsessed with the colour pink but admitted it was done for 'a bit of promotion' for her business. The Mail revealed that Pink mostly wears pink and lives in a house decorated and furnished in pink, and works in a pink salon which even uses pink wax.

The Mail also highlighted the moniker madness of best friends Daniel Knox-Hewson, 23, and Kelvin Borbidge, 22, also of Nottingham, who now have what could be the longest names in the United Kingdom. Mr Knox-Hewson renamed himself Emperor Spiderman Gandalf Wolverine Skywalker Optimus Prime Goku Sonic Xavier Ryu Cloud Superman Heman Batman Thrash. Mr Borbidge now goes by Baron Venom Balrog Sabretooth Vader Megatron Vegeta Robotnik Magneto Bison Sephiroth Lex Luthor Skeletor Joker Grind. "We decided to change our names because we were bored of our day-to-day lives and wanted to do something that reflected our true personalities," Emperor Thrash said.

A few years ago, celebrities Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their baby girl Apple. The Enquirer claimed that's what happens when you write your potential baby names on the back of your grocery list. There were other theories. One was that the lucky couple might have wanted to ensure the continuing good health of their family and figured that an Apple a day would keep the doctor away. Another was that Steve Jobs sponsored the child's name to publicise his products. There was some betting that the next child would be named 'iPad' or 'Mac'. Another wit said if Bill Gates was seriously competing, the child might have been named 'Windows'. As it was, the second child was named Moses and the couple parted earlier this year.

Another actress, Shannyn Sossamon, named her kid 'Audio Science', perhaps on the basis that little children should be heard and not seen. On the other hand, Tea Leoni and David Duchovny named their baby 'Kyd' and were not kidding about the name. Sonny and Cher, the seventies singing duo, named their daughter 'Chastity' (a tough name to live up to) and the late British television personality Paula Yates had three children with rocker Bob Geldolf, 'Fifi Trixibelle', 'Peaches Honeyblossom' and 'Pixie'. She also had a daughter with another rocker, Michael Hutchence, named, 'Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily'.


Hold off for now


I sometimes think that we should refrain from giving our children any names but 'Hey Kid', 'Love', 'Son' or 'Daughter' until they are old enough to decide what they would like to be called. I know it is difficult to restrain yourself when you want your child to carry your name or a name that you like, but your choice, whether Placenta or Syphilis, might say too much about you. There is the story of three women who were seeing a psychiatrist. He berated the first one, "All you like to do is eat sweets, that's why you named your daughter Candy." He was merciless with the second one, an English woman: "You like money too much, that's why you named your son Sterling." The third woman angrily stormed out, dragging her little son behind her, "I've heard enough of this nonsense. Let's go, Dick."

- Tony Deyal was last seen talking about a sex offender named 'Mister Love' and an Indian conman named 'Sham'.