prisonMy lovely wife and I are expecting twins in April, so among everything else that comes with preparing for this life-changing event, we also need to come up with a bunch of names.  We’ve decided – as many of our friends have before us – to keep the names to ourselves until the kids arrive.

That said, I get asked all the time from people, especially when I say that we’re having a boy and a girl.  I have a few options on how to reply.  At first, I thought of funny famous pairings.  “We’re thinking of Batman and Robin,” I’d say with a straight face.  “Or maybe Ricky and Lucy.”  Fellow N2RH blogger BKS asks me often how the kids are doing, and she employs this strategy as well.  Most recently, she’s asked about “Sid and Nancy” and “Dawson and Joey.”  (That’s from “Dawson’s Creek,” Mom.)

In the past month or so, I’ve switched tactics.  When our friends Mina and Dan were over and the subject of names came up, I said, “I’m thinking of Mina and Dan.  It has a nice ring to it.”  I’ve used that for four or five couples who have asked, and it generally yields a good response.

I care a lot about names and think about them way too often.  I once wrote that I found it very ironic that our placeholder name in society for a woman is Jane, and yet I find very few Janes around (and only personally know one).  John, Jane’s male counterpart, is definitely common enough to fit the bill, but just this week I realized how unjustly maligned that name is.  Off the top of my head, I came up with this list of how that name is used:

  1. As an unidentified male dead body
  2. In “Dear John” letters when someone is being unexpectedly left by a partner
  3. A “Johnny-come-lately” or a novice.  (This has a very condescending feel to it for me, rather than just calling someone “new” or “a rookie.”  Do you agree?)
  4. A bathroom
  5. A prostitute’s gentleman caller

That sucks for John.  “John Q. Public” isn’t bad at least, but I find it unfair that John gets lumped into all of those.  Hang in there, buddy.

Speaking of names, my lovely wife’s grandfather called recently to tell me about an article he saw from Time magazine.  Not to doubt the man, but I had to look up the article myself to see if he was recounting it accurately.  Basically, it says that names have an impact on whether or not someone will go to jail.  The examples it cites baffle me: If your kid is named Michael, he’ll be less likely to end up in jail.  But if he’s named Preston or Alec, the odds are greater.  Everybody now: That’s bullshit!  I will bet a lot of money that there are 100 times more Michaels in prison than Prestons and Alecs combined.  What, did they steal money from the yacht club or something?  I don’t doubt that a person’s name can have an impact on his or her life – hell, just look at what happened to Shitface McPenisnose – but I think the examples in that article are way off.  Part of me wants to name our kids Preston and Alexis just to prove that article wrong (provided they stay out of jail).  I don’t think my wife would go for it though; she’s pretty set on Pebbles and Bam Bam.

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