Monthly Archives: August 2008

A god who walks amongst us

I was never a big fan of my name when I was a kid. After all, most people had normal names like Phil and Simon, and standing out from the crowd is the last thing you want when you’re an awkward ten year old who wants nothing more from life than an Eagle Eyes Action ManGI Joe.

Then when I got to big school, there were two other people with the same name as me. I’d never even met one person called Dylan, let alone expected to find a couple of them in a class of 30. It turned out that by that point everyone in Britain was naming their kids Dylan (probably thanks to Luke Perry and Beverly Hills 90210), and it’s consistently been in the top 50 names for British-born boys ever since.

I regularly lambast She Who Was Born To Worry about the new found commonness of my name, although she blames Brit Out Of Water Sr.

Reading the press recently, it seems I should count myself lucky. A court in New Zealand has decided that a child had been given a ‘social disability’ when her parents named her Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. Apparently Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay and Violence are acceptable names, making the same court’s decision to refuse to accept Sex Fruit, Keenan Got Lucy and Yeah Detroit seem relatively strange.

Anyway, the point is that a person’s name plays a vital part in establishing the first impression that you have of them. And parents would do well to take that into consideration when naming their child.

Walking to work this morning, I passed a group of young kids on a trip to some unknown location. It was a picture of idyllic bliss, with each pair of children holding hands with a teacher or parent, and sporting rather natty self-designed name tags around their necks. I’m still getting used to the subtle differences between British and American names, but there seemed to be the usual selection of Kimberley’s, Ricardo’s, Amber’s and Zachary’s, as well as the occasional Jamarion or Amya.

And then, there at the front, holding hands alone with a single teacher, was little Messiah.

Talk about setting up your child for a fall. Or for a particularly lofty career as an award winning (but tortured) actor. Either way, it can’t be easy at school for the poor little kid.

My one comforting hope is that whenever his mother is cross with him, and his proud dad intervenes to ask what Messiah has done, she turns around angrily and shouts “He’s not Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy.”