Thursday, June 5, 2008

One a Day

For the last few months I have been working at a temp job with a huge data base. While I was in Colorado with my sister, they discovered a major flaw in the matching system that found duplicates - you know the bane of every data base, a crime punishable by death. Okay, I am exaggerating for emphasis, but you know what I mean.

Since my return, I have spent my days, going day by day; line by line, searching for those aforementioned duplicates. It wasn't too bad to begin with, it was kind of interesting but as the days wore on it became so incredibly tedious that I began to devise ways to keep myself engaged and to stop myself from plunging a pen into my eye.

First, I sang myself little songs that the names reminded of but that annoyed my co-workers. Then I tried to count the number of Matthews, for example, born on each day. Soon I began to notice all kinds of patterns in names and I started to keep track of the names and my friends, I have a whole new appreciation for creativity.

Now I come from a long line of unusual names. In my family we have Bushrod, Isaac Newton, Napoleon and Cinderella. I even understand about made up names, my mother's best friend was named Palzora. Let's face it, I am in no position to throw weird name stones, living the glass house of Leau, but boys and girls there is a whole level of weird and made up names out there that now I feel I must share.

There are wonderful exotic names that intrigue me with too many or no vowels. Two letter names and ones with totally unpronounceable (by me) combinations of letters that bring to mind far away places with strange sounding names. These are not the ones I am talking about.

First of all I am talking about spelling changes for each and every name know to man. Okay, maybe not Samantha, no one has figured out how to change it...yet. You know how you see names where the c has been changed to an s? Or the y to an i or vice versa? Well, that is just the beginning! Did you also know that o and a are interchangeable with e? And "sea" can become "cia" in a flash? Or that "ious" can be exchanged for "ria" at the end of almost any good solid name? And the use of the lowly apostrophe...unbelievable! It can take the place of several letters with a single stroke! It can make two names one! It can be used at the beginning, middle or end of a name with absolutely no rhyme or reason! It's a miracle worker!

These cleaver and or so ingenious parents have also taken names like Lindsay, Michael, and Lauren and put there own spin on them. By far the most common name is Brittney and I can now spell that one name 22 different ways! I only wish I was exaggerating for emphasis. I can spell Jacqueline 16 ways using any where from 6 to 10 letters. It gets better, there are ways to spell Chelsea and Caitlin that defy belief and did you know that Alicia has as many as 16 different spellings as well? Nicole is the favorite for a middle name and while I had a friend who called her kid Nickle for fun, she certainly didn't spell it that way as some have done.

Then there are the names that just come at you out of nowhere. The data base has names based on cities, states, scared places, countries, food - even cheeses!!. We have names from colleges, times of day, days of the week, months of the year, gemstones, weather phenomena, animals, birds, feelings, flowers, zodiac signs and colors. There are the types of wood and trees, gardening terms, mythological beings, deities, seasons, types of houses, wine, alcohol (and not just Jim Beam or Johnny Walker), brand names, hotels, bodies of water and cars. Are your eyes bleeding yet? It goes on. There are names based on rock stars, rock star's nicknames, movie titles, movie stars, and can I just say that putting a movie star's first and last name together and adding an "a" does not a name make. Think about it... Kids are named after parts of speech as well. Huh?

Then there are the made up names, OMG, the names these kids have to put up with. Let's face it, no matter how you intend the name to be pronounced, if you spell it with "belly" or "fanny" at the end, their life once they hit school and the other kids see it printed will be a living hell. There are those names that (I hope) are just misspellings. We do have several people in the data base whose last names are N/A or "none" so I just hope against hope most of the really awful ones are operator error. I am all for phoenics but shouldn't names have some kind of reasoning behind them? Well, maybe they do and I just don't know it. Sometimes, I think people find a word they like and use it as a name. I want to tell them that word doesn't mean what you think it means. My nephew loved the word fumble when he was 3. Let's just hope he doesn't convince some woman some day to add an a and call it a name. Do people not say these out loud before they commit them to the birth certificate?

Living in New Mexico has given me an whole new appreciation for the names of saints both in English and Spanish but what I want to leave you with is this..
Each and every day I find at least one person, one a day, whose first, middle or last name is Jesus. Good to know.


Paula Scott said...

Amen to that! Except you have to pronounce it Hey Zeus!

david mcmahon said...

What an entertaining post!

Thank you for the visit and the lovely comment you left me, and forbeing so appreciative of my blog.


Hilary said...

Fun post. Someone, whose post appears above mine, pointed the way with a link. But I'm not.. umm.. naming names. ;)

Daryl said...

May I add to this a thought a friend had not long ago ... she suggested some name their kids by taking a hand full of Scrabble letters and tossing them in the air .. however they fall .. that's the name.

A former co-worker named her son DuPres but called him Booboo because he was not planned.

My entire life I have had to explain I am NOT a man... and we were too poor so my name has but one R.

Loved your post ... loved it!

Oh and what's his name, the guy from OZ? He sent me!

BTW .. those word verification letters .. could be a name


Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

Thank you so kindly for your comments to my blog. You are very thoughtful. You have a very entertaining way with words... I love your style of writing!
Have a wonderful week!
Mountain Retreat

Stephanie said...

Really interesting! This coming from your friend rodrigvitz :)

Laurie said...

Don't know if it's for real or not but a while back, my sister-in-law told me that she had heard of someone who had named her children "Orangelo" and "Lemongelo". You gotta be hard up for a name if you get your kid's name off a box of gelatin. This blog - has a post about it with feedback on the comments. One person says that the children were in a special ed class and my sister-in-law has been quite involved in that aspect of education so maybe there's some truth to it. ;)

Great post, Leau! Surely there's some way to incorporate all 22 spellings of Brittney into an art piece of some kind!?