Ever have someone ask you something and the first thing that comes to mind is…”that’s an epically bad idea?” That’s what happened to me this week, and it was all around names.
Who knew I could have such a visceral reaction to something so simple?
But it makes sense, right? I mean, names help to define who we are expected to be by the world as well as who we feel we can become, right?
And as writers, haven’t there been characters you’ve agonized over, trying to find just the right name to suit their appearance and their temperament?
So what name set me in such a tailspin it shoved me back onto my blog (which I’ve missed, by the way, and I’ll go into where I’ve been another day)? The name Judas. One of my sweet co-workers asked me what I thought of that name for a little boy.
I admit it. I was pretty horrified.
Me: Why would you do that to a child?
Her: What do you mean?
Me: Do you have any idea of the connotations behind that name?
(She gave me that confused head tilt thingie that all dogs have down pat when they hear strange noises)
Me: Dude, Judas betrayed Jesus and got him killed! For 30 pieces of silver.
Male Co-worker chimes in: I think it’s a cool name.
Her: (looks over at me) She’s right, though.
Guy: But who was Jesus back then? A nobody. Why should he have cared? It was for money.
Me: (gasping in shock) Uh…even if you think back then Jesus was a nobody (and I definitely had no plans of getting into a deep theological discussion with two kinds I suspected weren’t very versed in that subject or history), he was supposed to be one of his best friends. They were together non-stop for 3 years! And he betrayed that friendship for 30 pieces of silver.
Her: That’s true. They were best friends.
Me: And, he felt so shitty afterwards that he committed suicide. Why would you want to put all that on a kid? Don’t you know that even to this day, when someone calls someone Judas they’re calling the person a traitor? And that happened a long time ago.
I didn’t even go into how much more time had passed compared to Benedict Arnold’s and how the negative connotations never disappeared.
As I thought back on that chat I got to thinking about all the effed up names out there. And I’m not just talking some of the sillier ones celebs come up with like Apple, etc. I mean, a good friend of mine in healthcare was telling me that she’d seen several people come in and write this ‘La-a’ one admission paperwork for their little ones. Unsure how to pronounce, she asked and was told (with a look telling her they thought she was stupid) “It’s La-dash-a!”
Am I the only one not cool enough to know that the proper words for punctuation marks are now to be part of the name?
And what names do you feel give bad juju anyone with the misfortune of having it? Are there certain names you feel predestine people for questionable career choices? And are there ones you absolutely love? How did you get your name? I’d love to hear from you!