Issues with what people name kids


Editor’s note — This is the first part of a two-part column.

So I got a rather mean email from a fan after she read some of my stuff regarding baby names. According to her, it’s none of my business what people name their babies, and that’s sort of difficult to argue with, except I will anyway.

See, I feel it’s my place as the voice of reason in this crazy, mixed-up world to also be the voice for all the Draydens, Jaydiens, Apples, Moxies and Bryars out there. Someone has to speak up for the kids, darn it!

Can’t you see? By the time you add up all the seconds these kids will have had to spell out their names to every person on the phone, at a hotel, or just as a part of everyday life in general they’re going to waste months of their lives, maybe years. Stop it man! You know how many times I’ve had to spell out Dave to somebody? The answer is zero. Same for every Steve, Sam or Jack out there. On a related note, my friend and former student Molly and her husband named their baby Max, thus saving him an extra three and a half years of his life because he won’t have to spell it for people constantly.

And oh, by the way, the complainer’s name was Smyrna, which I thought may have been of some significance. I mean, growing up as a Smyrna wouldn’t you be sensitive to poorly chosen names? But n-o-o-o-o, Smyrna chose to direct her ire towards me rather than mom and pop.

With all this in mind I perused the archives of Shoe: Untied and, sure enough, I’ve written a few blogs regarding modern baby names. In honor of Smyrna I shall reprint them below, because I think they’re pretty funny. Please excuse the fact that I repeated myself a couple times. These baby names get me all befuddled and whatnot.

And remember, it’s for the kids! We’ll begin with the blog that started it all: New American Baby Names. You can’t make this Stuff Up. Then Again, May You Can.

I was skimming through a magazine at the dentist’s office the other day and ran across an article about new American baby names. I think it’s a pretty well-known fact that Americans have pretty much lost their collective minds when it comes to naming children. It used to be pretty easy, just name the kid John or Robert or Mary or Sally and move on.

Oh, we had the nut jobs in the ’70s like Frank Zappa who named his kids Dweezil and Moon Unit, but overall it was pretty simple. My best friends as a kid? Dave, Tom, Ted, Mel and Jeff. Today? No, it has to be something completely unique, something nobody else has ever used. For the love of God, Gwyneth Paltrow named her kid Apple. I assume Banana is next, followed by Grape or maybe Muskmelon?


Here are some recent samples I found online, followed by my biting commentary. Let’s start with the boys:

Blayde. They must think the added “y” really puts it over the top. I’m assuming they’ll name the next boy Nyfe? Or maybe Daggir? Mashetty? Sabre? Shank? Good Lord. Wait. What about Shiv?

Note: I actually sort of like Shiv.

Sketch. Really? What, Doodle wasn’t available?

Draven. Really? Aren’t you pretty much guaranteeing your kid will take up Black Magic and become a witch or warlock if you name him/her Draven?

Diesel. As you may or may not have read, I had a kindergartner a couple years ago named Diesel who was the epitome of cool. Until he pooped his pants, of course. After that, not so much. If your name is Diesel you’d better be able to back it up.

Izander. Izander? Sounds like someone from the Land of Ize.

Jaydien. Here’s what bothers me about Jaydien. The extra “y” and “i”. Totally unnecessary. Like I mentioned, the kid’s going to have to spell the name out every time he checks into a hotel or gives it to someone over the phone.

Zaiden. Of course we have Zaiden. Next will come Zayden. Or Zaydien, as in Jaydien.

Sigh. Enough of the dumb boy names. The girl names can’t be so pretentious, can they? Can they? Oh God…

Brook’Lynn. Apparently the apostrophe is a new trend. What’s next, Me’Gan? Kel’Le?

Luxx. This is the epitome of the horrible “new” baby names. Luxx. Sounds like a nemesis of Superman or maybe a brand of sweeper.

Copelia. I have a good line for this one but I can’t pull the trigger.

Fallyn. Sounds like an angel that has fallen from grace or something. Just depressing.

Tybee. This sounds like a late night infomercial brand name. Get the new Tybee Fruit Juicer Now! One-time offer only!

Joplyn. Being a classic rock fan, this one isn’t so bad save for the fact they misspelled it. It’s Joplin, dummies. In fact, I think a family of Joplin, Jimi, Morrison and Croce would be pretty cool if you ignore the fact that they were all named after people who died before they were 30.

Jerrika. Presumably has a father named Jerry and a mother named Erika? If my parents used that logic I’d be named Ralphthryn or Kalph.

There were a lot more but I’m becoming too depressed to include them. But seriously, folks, don’t be afraid to go old school with the baby names. There is nothing wrong with naming a kid Max, Sam, Jack even David. My general advice would be to keep it simple, but what the hell do I know? Do what makes you happy, but remember there are no guarantees I won’t make fun of you.

But seriously, COPELIA?

Dave Shoemaker is a retired teacher, athletic director and basketball coach with most of his professional years spent at Paint Valley. He also served as the national basketball coach for the island country of Montserrat in the British West Indies. He lives in Southern Ohio with his best friends and companions, his dogs Sweet Lilly and Hank. He can be reached at

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