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Unusual names are getting too unusual

Published 8:00am Wednesday, May 18, 2011

These days it is not uncommon to meet somebody with an unusual name or someone who has a different spelling of a more common name.

I have one of those unusual spellings myself. With only one ‘t’ instead of the common ‘tt’ ending for Scot, I have endured many people misspelling my name throughout the years.

The lady at the Department of Motor Vehicles misspelled my name on my learner’s permit even though she had my birth certificate in front of her.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining — I actually like the uniqueness of my name. I also like the unintended humor in my initials. My full name is Scot O’Neal Beard — I’ll let you put that one together.

I understand why parents want unique names for their children, and I can’t fault them for wanting to give their children a moniker that belongs to nobody else. After all, how many people named James, John, Michael, Jennifer, Lisa or Jessica does the world need?

There is nothing wrong with those names, but odds are you know at least two people with each of those names.

Occasionally the quest for an unusual name goes too far. Usually this journey into the absurd is limited to celebrities.

Take Jermaine Jackson, for instance, who named his daughter “Jermajesty.” I wonder how that made her older siblings feel.

Of course, that is kind of mild compared to the names of other celebrity children. Two have the high expectations placed on them for keeping the world safe.

Nicholas Cage named his son “Kal-el,” which is the name Superman’s Kryptonian parents gave the Man of Steel. Magician/comedian Penn Gillette named his child “Moxie Crimefighter.”

This last name could also be a job description, which is a category another celebrity name can fall into. Jason Lee’s child is named “Pilot Inspektor,” which is both an unusual name and an unusual spelling.

Lee is the lead actor in “My name is Earl” a show that deals with karma, which makes me wonder what will happen to him after saddling his kid with a name like “Pilot Inspektor.”

Of course, there are more absurd names out there. Ving Rhames named his daughter “Reign Beau” and Rob Morrow named his daughter “Tu Morrow.”

If naming celebrity children were like an awards show, Frank Zappa earns the lifetime achievement award. He has children named “Moon Unit,” “Dweezil” and “Diva Muffin.”

Unfortunately the realm of ridiculous names is not limited to the world of celebrities.

An Israeli couple recently named their daughter “Like.” The couple said the Facebook Like button was the inspiration for the name.

There are two other documented cases of people using Facebook to help determine the names of their children.

One couple named their child “Facebook” in honor of the social network’s role in the revolution in Egypt. Another man claimed he would name his son “Batman” if he could get 500,000 people to become fans of his Facebook page.

There is nothing wrong with wanting your children to have unusual names or spellings, but stop and take a few minutes to think about the name before you make it official.

I just don’t see “Batman Jones” becoming a partner in a major New York City law firm and I doubt anybody named “Diva Muffin” will get a serious job interview — ever.

Uniqueness is good, but there should be limits.

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