New jeans, starchy backpacks, and the smell of sharpened pencils in the air mean one thing…I get to direct the appropriate amount of snark and derision at the class roster. It gets more interesting every year with more elaborate permutations of spelling and creative combinations of names that were already made up to begin with.
I really don’t think there is a need to make up a name. There are plenty. If you can’t find one in the guide to 50,000 baby names, you just aren’t trying. There are 2 billion people in China and about 15 first names. And I, for one, have never come across a Graxtone Ling.
I know, parents want their child to stand-out, to be unique. But if you think affixing an albatross of a name on poor Gimmee is going to make him unique, you might want to think about the benefits of blending in, say in Cell Block B.
Secondly, I don’t think there is a need to co-opt perfectly well-established boys’ names for girls. Pure boys’ names are practically extinct. Pretty soon all will have gone the way of Leslie, Ashley, Drew, and Ryan. And we’ll be left with Ned. Do you really want that on your conscience? Furthermore, think of all the angst over constant gender confusion when you have to explain that your bundle in the bassinet, “Walter” is a girl. It just leads to a proliferation of bows larger than dinner plates affixed to hairless skulls. Senseless cycle of cruelty.
Made up names are annoying, but made up spellings are worse. Are you asking for your kid to need therapy? If it can’t be found pre-printed on a barrette or pencil case, don’t do it. If you ever find yourself having to say, “It’s Frank, with a ‘Ph'” just step out into traffic immediately.
But I think the real losers in this yearly display of out-weirding one another with bizarre spelling and pronunciation are the Kindergarten teachers. I imagine the first day of school when poor Mrs. Johnson struggles through the roster, calling out names, making corrections and becoming wistful for the slug of Dimetapp in her desk drawer.