by Wes Wilson
“There is a scientific process to determine the proper name for a child,” Alphonso boasts to his newly expectant wife. “First you must determine where this child will spend his or her life, which region of the country, hence Bubba or Billy Bob would be no good in the North; Grant, Lincoln or Sherman no good in the South.”
“How are we supposed to know that?” his wife lazily responds while thumbing through a magazine.
“Look,” Alphonso says, somewhat perturbed, trying to concentrate on the Game of the Week, “if our child has any sense at all, he or she will live in the South, right?”
“Gender is important too,” Alphonso continues, placates between batters, “but not of supreme importance. I know a man named Queen and a woman named Princella.”
“So,” his wife Ecclesiastes responds, ignoring the game and wishing she had the remote, “you can take a Southern name and twist it to suit gender, for example: Bob to Bobbie, Jack to Jackie. If we don’t get hung up on gender specific names, we can take something we like and modify it.”
“That’s the trick,” Alphonso says. “Aw, man!”
“Trot popped out on the first pitch.”
“Trot Junior or Trot Senior?”
“How should I know?” he says, the heat in his voice rising, “I didn’t know there was a Senior.”
“Yes,” Alphonso says, bothered, distracted, confused, his words fumbling, “I mean no, not particularly. He’s with the Red Sox.”
“Oh,” she says, crossing her legs and yawning.
“But don’t get too happy,” Alphonso sarcastically muses aloud, turning to face her now that the commercials are in full swing. “Take my brother, for instance. He wanted to use Rhodes because it is an old family name, but just because he spends most of his days on dusty roads does not mean…” His wife looks away and frowns. “Okay, you get the point.”
“But,” she says, closing her magazine, trying to get in as much talk as she can before the game resumes, “you were conceived on a Saturday night. You don’t have a tremendous glossary of dynamic names to choose from.”
“So we buy a baby name book.”
“Then the child will have the traits and personality of a printed name in an impersonal book, right? Not a real-life, breathing person who walked the earth--that’s pretty cold now; tell me it’s not.”
“Yes,” he says, watching the screen and hoping for a miracle, “I would say that’s the most important thing: The name should match the personality of the child.”
“Well,” Alphonso says smiling, “you like shopping. What about Advil, Velveeta, Avian, or Ruffles?”
“I like Pudding,” Alphonso muses, “that would be a good girl’s name. Clorets may be a bit strong but you’d be proud to take her anywhere.”
“You could throw a dart in our backyard if you like,” Ecclesiastes says with an angry scowl and a jerk of her head. “See if I care.”
“Dirt,” Alphonso says, still smiling, “that’s where my dart would land. Geranium?” A beer commercial flashes on the television screen. “How about Miller, Seagram’s, or Martini? No,” he says, more serious, “maybe we should stick with the old-time ways: double names for girls, simple, one-syllable names for boys. Let’s start with the boy names: Dirk, Stone, Brick (any kind of masonry), Tuck, or Dump.”
The stretch is over and so are the commercials. The Yankees are coming up to bat; Alphonso refocuses on the game and talks out of one side of his mouth. “And the girls: Mary Beth, Mary Katherine (basically any name with Mary in front), Ida May, Betty Jean; come on, help me with this. And then the name should have pleasant initials, not like Beatrice Utley Taylor. See what I mean? Because if you monogrammed a purse or a sweater for them--I’m sorry, the naughty boy comes out in me. Or Penelope Isadora Sanchez and her sister Abigail Sushi. Well, then you have ruined your child, a lifetime banishment from the world of monogramming. How sad. But for the men, oh how proud: J. W., J. C., or C. J., the initials become the man, the man becomes the initials, inseparable.”
He is watching her now, she him, with the crack of the bat in the background, the excited announcer saying "BACK-BACK-BACK," and the screaming fans.
“Was that a home run?” she says furtively, indifferently glancing toward the television.
“A-Rod,” he says listening, down-looking and sullen.
“A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.”
Read more about author Wes Wilson at his web site: WesWords.com
And contact him at wesnall@tcworks
Looking for more unusual Southern names? CLICK HERE
Here's a list of grandparent names and nicknames
Another list, Southern Style: Double Names
Read many more great stories listed on our USADS Articles pages.
Here are more popular stories at USADEEPSOUTH about Southern baby names and pregnancies:
This Name's For You
Baby Room Racket
The Name Game--Southern Style
Baby Showers and Sneaky Women
Want to leave a comment on Wes’s story?
Please visit our Message Board or write Ye Editor at email@example.com.
Here’s another Wes Wilson story at USADEEPSOUTH:
Skiing On the Catfish Pond
Wes Wilson has published his second novel Nor Gloom of Night. This book, like the first, is a mystery set in the Mississippi Delta, available through bookstores, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. For an excerpt, visit Wes' website WES WORDS.
Back to USADEEPSOUTH index page