to Name the Baby
The leading cause of childhood trauma is, not surprisingly, a childs
name. Therefore, when picking a childs name, at the very least
you have to consider the taunting nicknames and the bad words with which
it will rhyme so well. Some parents, once they find the perfect
name, like to keep it a secret until after the baby arrives, as if someone
could race ahead, have a baby before them, and steal the name.
This morning my neighbor Eric called. He had that giddy Its a
son! sparkle in his voice.
How is Cathy? I asked.
Shes great, Eric said.
So, finally, whats the little ones name?
There are...complications, he said quietly.
I thought you had a name all picked out.
Ill explain later. Then he hung up, mysteriously.
Remembering how difficult it was to think of cooking that first week, I
pull a tray of enchiladas out of the freezer to make sure they have
something for dinner.
Cathy answers the door. I have never seen her look so distressed.
Hes asleep, she mouths to me.
Is everything all right? I ask in a whisper.
Well, says Cathy, we could really use some help.
In the other room Eric bangs his head against his computer monitor.
Im an idiot, he moans. I should have gotten it months
Gotten what? I ask.
His domain, says Eric. www.jacobsanders.com. Somebody
else already got it. He types for a furious moment, then slams down the
enter key. Honey, he says, Im trying
www.jacobxsanders.com. Can you think of any good middle names
starting with x?
What are you doing? I ask.
Im buying my son his own domain. Its the birthright of the
new millennia, says Eric. Its like the homesteading days,
when wagons would race out to stake a claim. He types some more.
I just didnt think there were so many Sanders in the world.
Every variation I can think of is taken. He cradles his head in
his hands. Im a terrible father.
Arent you being a bit hard on yourself? I ask.
Thats easy for you to say, he says, bitterness in his voice.
How many people in the world have your last name? He looks up
to heaven. Why couldnt I have a weird last name? Hey
honey, can we change our last name?
Eric, Cathy says, you know what your father would say.
Yeah, but he doesnt understand how important this is. Just
imagine, Eric says, his eyes sparkling, when the girls ask,
Whats your email? he could say, firstname.lastname@example.org.
That would be so awesome.
Xavier, says Cathy suddenly.
Xavier is a cool middle name, Eric says, isnt it?
Then the computer screen flashes. Dang. Its already
What about Ryan? I ask. Have you tried to find a domain for
Hes going to share his brothers domain, said Eric. Do I
sense a major complex just waiting to develop here? Its
different for Ryan, says Eric, sensing my confusion. He
already has a name.
We havent filled out the birth certificate yet, says Eric
sheepishly. But that also means theres still a chance of
finding him a domain.
Hours later, the enchiladas sit ravaged and cold in the kitchen.
Try Bartholomew, says Cathy.
But that would make his initials BS, says Eric. Then, No,
youre right. Typing. Taken.
Are there any names we havent tried? says Cathy, exasperated.
I once knew a girl named Euphoric, says Eric. The computer
pings. Dang. Someone bumped our bid on
www.jaccobbsanders.com to $3,300. Honey, says Eric sweetly,
can we go up to $3,500?
I suppose I could go back to work a week early, says Cathy.
Theres a small cry behind us. I turn and see Grandma holding the
precious newborn. His eyes are closed and his little patch of hair
is matted to the side of his head.
Hes beautiful, I say.
Victory! shouts Eric. I look at the screen.
www.jcbsndrs.com. No vowels. Pretty clever, eh?
Congratulations, I say. I look at the clock. Its
Eric relaxes, then tenses up immediately. Cathy, he says as she
begins to feed Jcb, remember how we were thinking about having a
third? He starts typing again.
You know its never too early to start searching.