COLUMN: Life ain’t easy for a boy named Sioux

Harry Caines contributes a weekly column to His column is a work of opinion, and does not reflect the views of Cache Valley Daily, the Cache Valley Media Group, or its employees.

“You don’t tug on Superman’s cape. You don’t spit into the wind. You don’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger…and you don’t mess around with Jim.”

—Jim Croce

I am a junior, though my father did not want me to be. As he relays the story—and he has a gift for sharing anecdotes that makes me come off like a shy mime—fathers were not allowed in the delivery rooms of Catholic hospitals in 1970. By the time he was allowed to see my mother after my birth, she had already named me after my father.

My father hated his name. He had no intention of ever naming any sons he would have Harry. His reasoning was that it was too tough a name to grow up with. He told me he was much more inclined to give me our mutual middle name as my first name. Our middle name is Asa.

Yeah. My life would have been soooooo much easier if I was named Asa. (Sarcasm alert!)

Forty-three years later, North West has come into the world. Notice please that not only did I not type that out as a compound word, but also turned it into proper nouns. That is because North West is the name of a baby; the daughter of hip hop artist (oxymoron alert!) Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, who is famous for being….ummmm, uh, I have no idea why she is famous.

They named her North, with her father’s last name, which is West. Madness.

If there are two current trends that will have disturbing effects in the decades to come, it is tattoos and stupid baby names. Many people will be too grotesque to stare at with saggy-skinned tramp stamps and arm band tattoos as they get old. And too many kids will have abandoned their given moniker cursed upon them by short-sighted, obnoxiously self-centered parents.

I often opine on the two cultures that I have lived in, grown in and studied. There are some similarities between the two worlds, Philadelphia and Utah that are great–others, not. As a kid I noticed that many of the black kids I went to school with had peculiar names. I never asked why. And then I moved to Utah and saw this unfortunate phenomenon exercised to an nth degree.

In the nine years I have lived in Utah, I have found that there are at least 200 different spellings of the name Haley.

And it was not until my self-imposed exile to the Beehive State did I ever see the name Jackson spelled Jaxon.

What’s wrong with you people?

What makes a parent look at a child and not see how their life will be made worse by a name no one will know how to spell? Or a name, such as North West, that is just flat out, undeniably stupid?

There is a myopic, careless pattern to modern children’s names that has to be addressed. And let me answer the question that many of you might be asking me. Who am I to judge?

I am the guy with the privilege of free thought who sees idiotic things and reserves the right to call them idiotic. That’s who I am!

Does naming your kid Bryson or Jordynn really make your kid special? Does it give them an advantage? They will not be skanky, trailer park trash. Not my kid. They are going to be President of the United States. President Bryson!

A child does not become special because their name is odd, or spelled with Y’s and I’s flipped around. A child is special because the parents teach them to have an unshakable moral character.

I am not priggish because I like ordinary names for kids. I just think that it makes things simpler for the us and them. Bill, Frank, Sarah and Lisa are just easier. And you can take people with those names seriously.

Think about it. How many Bills do you know? It is a serious name for serious men. No one ever intentionally crossed a guy named Bill. Unless you count the Buffalo Bills—no one fears them.

Try doing that with some guy named Daxton. Unless I personally witness him kill a grizzly bear with his bare hands, I will never be able to avoid snickering when I hear his name.

And then there is Dave. I want everyone reading this column to repeat the following sentence:

“Hey! It’s Dave!”

You smiled, didn’t you? Know why? Because it is a physical impossibility to say the name Dave whilst scowling. Like closing your eyes when you sneeze, you are forced to smile saying the name Dave. Do you really want world peace? From this day forward name ever baby boy Dave and within 30 years there will be no more wars.

The rule is pretty simple:

If you are thinking of giving your newborn a name that sounds like, or is spelled in a way that resembles a web-footed, green skinned alien from Star Trek, abstain.

Isn’t life hard enough? Why give your child the disadvantage of having to spell their names every time they speak to someone on the phone? Why force your kids when they get older to acquire nicknames like Red or Chip, because Brixtyn is just too flat out mind-bending to accept?

Your kid is not special. He or she is going to be great or average, historic or forgettable, because of the strange mix of genetics and environment. The smartest man to ever live was named Albert. He did OK.

Just don’t name your son Harry. It is a terrible name; rife with tortures unbelievable until personally experienced. If you don’t believe me, just ask my father.

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