Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

In the name of all that's good, don't call your son Thor

Oh, it's a little baby boy. I think we'll call him Lager. He'll make a lovely sibling for his sister, Chlamydia. It's long been my contention that parents should not be allowed to name their own children but that the State should select these fairly and sensibly.

Unfortunately, we live in a free society, and so the little ones must suffer the consequences. The website Nameberry predicts that ancient handles like Augustus, Flavius and Thor will feature at the front, inspired by The Hunger Games on television.

You'd have a pretty hard time living up to Thor, I suspect, particularly if you've got specs and matchstick-arms. Augustus - a fine Roman emperor, as these nutters go - would be shortened to Oggie, and I can't say I care much for Flavius. There's a hint of saliva about it.

The name Thorin, after the dwarf leader in The Hobbit, subject of a forthcoming movie, is also tipped for the top, though I cannot think the character is too inspiring.

He's a helluva temper and worships gold but, hey, he's a leader of men, or at least dwarves, and he has a beard, thus providing a fine manly role model for little boys.

What of little gals? They're nearly all called Freya now, and there seems little chance of that changing in the near future. It's a lovely name, though, fresh and fruitful. However, top name experts reckon a resurgence of names beginning with 'W' is due, hence Willa, Willow, Winter, Winnie, Waverley.

They may be on to something, as these are all lyrical, even if Winter sounds a little cold - obviously. Wilhelmina, however, troubles me. In general, it is a good rule in life never to take the name of a German boy and add "ina" to it. You may quote me on that.

If you must inflict peculiar nomenclature upon your sprog, the middle name is probably the place to do it. I don't have one of these. As a child, I praised the Lord for this lack, as the middle-name often occasioned ridicule.

One of my friends suffered from Entwhistle, which is pleasantly absurd, but designed more for Fairyland than the real world.

However, now I deplore my lack of a middle name. I feel bereft and that my parents were just too damned lazy to think of anything. I am Robert Nothing McNeil. How hollow it feels.

But sometimes nothing can be better than something, as the daughter of Uma Thurman will grow up to discover. She has been dubbed Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Alatalune Flatulence Thurman-Busson.

Not Flatulence. Florence. Still, you get my drift. In my ideal world, somewhat like Plato's but less democratic, Thurman would be placed under arrest and confined indefinitely.

There should be a convention that one chooses one's own name at the age of 18 and, then again, at the age of 35 and, once more, at 60. It's a bit like tattoos. You may grow out of the message they convey.

At 18, I'd have been Bilbo (as in Baggins) and, at 35, Kate (as in Bush). I wouldn't care for either now. At 60, I'll undoubtedly go for Wallace (as in Gromit's owner) or Bodidharma who, as you know, brought Chan Buddhism to the Shaolin Temple. You have to pick something eternal and meaningful. Hi, my name's Bodidharma McNeil. Boy, that rocks!

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