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It’s Gouda to meet you Cthulthu All-Spark...
What is the proper response to someone who comes up, extends a hand in greeting and says, “Pleased to meet you. My name is Cheese.”
That is the name nine American couples chose to call their newborns last year, according to a website called BabyCenter.com.
And it was by no means the oddest. Other popular names include Hippo, Popeye, Burger, Google and Vanille.
Yes, we are talking about human babies and the names they will have to lug through life.
It’s a dangerous gambit, turning to the Internet for assistance in the naming of your child. A couple with the surname McLaughlin asked on-liners at namemydaughter.com for a suitable handle to lay on their expected daughter.
The front-runner as we go to press is: Cthulthu All-Spark McLaughlin.
If it’s any consolation, Cthulthu (they’ll probably just call her Cthul for short) will be coming into a world already well-sprinkled with bizarre monikers.
David Bowie named his kid Zowie and somewhere in Hollywood there’s a woman whose birth certificate reads Moon Unit Zappa. Her father, Frank Zappa, did that to her. One suspects mood-altering substances were involved.
Some countries try to protect the unborn from the loopy excesses of their parents. In Germany a child’s name must by law be not that of “a product, an object, or any other name perceived as absurd or degrading.”
In Venezuela there is a list of about 100 ‘government-approved’ names, all of which are gender-specific. Names like Cody, Cory and Dale would be non-starters in Venezuela.
New Zealanders have a law that doesn’t allow any names that “may cause offence or lead to bullying” — but I don’t think the Kiwi name police are all that vigilant. How else to explain the New Zealand man whose name is — deep breath now — Full Metal Havoc More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova?
What’s more, Mister...er — Frostnova, is it? — can’t even blame his parents. He got saddled as an adult with that name after losing a poker bet. The name change was almost invalidated by another New Zealand statue that forbids names longer than 100 characters.
Luckily Full Metal Havoc More Sexy N Intelligent Than Spock And All The Superheroes Combined With Frostnova comes in at a crisp 99.
Sometimes the naming of children goes badly because of too little imagination rather than too much.
That helps to explain why there are a couple of thousand baby girls in New York City alone who answer to the name Fuhmahlee and nearly 4,000 young boys whose first name is Mahlee.
Correction: those are how the names are pronounced. They are spelled ‘Female’ and ‘Male’. Their parents hadn’t even bothered to give them a name so the official hospital records used their sex designation as their given name.
Marshall McLuhan once said that the naming of a human is a numbing blow from which he or she never recovers. He was a very smart man.
— Arthur Black’s column appears every Tuesday in The NEWS. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.