by chuck fresh

An old neighbor of mine was very fond of the first name Jesus. It's an awesome name, really. The biblical version of that particular first name isn’t too typical in English-speaking American circles, so I assumed her Jesus might have been Mexican, pronounced "hey-zeus." Her bumper stickers and Facebook posts were always neatly coordinated and quite often mentioned things like Jesus saves. Jesus forgives. Jesus provides. Jesus this, Jesus that, Jesus everything. At one point I said to myself, "Wow, this kid must be one hell of a landscaper." 

Yes, I speak to myself frequently. I usually don't answer.

Apparently, the one thing the real Jesus couldn’t do was reach out and smack this silly woman on her forehead for deciding to curse her son with a ridiculously obscure biblical name. We’re talking Old Testament here – filled with the truly peculiar names that no one has used in millennia. Granted, there are some pretty happening Old Testament names, like Moses, Noah, and Adam. But kids are mean! The more crazy names like Solomon, Silas, Titus, Caleb, and Beelzebub are better left unused. Yeah, she went there. She actually named her kid Balthazar.

I wondered what she was thinking. I’m sure she was trying to be cutesy so she could impress her friends. I must admit that at times I envy her ignorance. It must be wonderful to be carefree and apathetic, thinking you don’t ever have to do anything meaningful, because you know in your heart with absolutely no doubt that some bearded white guy in the sky is taking care of everything with a master plan we simply cannot comprehend. All we have to do is say thanks once a week, and apologize whenever we make a mistake.

The problem with these obscure names is that most children outside of your tidy little circle won’t necessarily share your joy and creativity. Many children (not yours, of course) are cruel and insecure. The first thing an insecure person will do is deflect attention away from him or herself, by any means possible, and then laugh hysterically to engage other weak-minded people to validate and cement that deflected attention. The bully’s joke just became a permanent label for poor little Ball Sack Czar. Considering that your child may be stuck in the same school with that insecure bully and his or her posse for up to twelve years, I’m sure you can deduce that your child will take one Hell of a mental beating, quite possibly leading to a deep resentment from which he or she won’t easily be able to recover without substantial therapy.

Other than a circumcision, the first name you choose for your child is the only gift you can bestow upon him or her forever. It’s critical that you choose that name as wisely as you can.

When choosing a first name, do the “rhyme test” and the “acronym test.” For example, Bob the Slob, Smella Bella, and Fatty Patty are a few of the more simple examples of extremely immature yet potentially embarrassing or inappropriate rhymes which your child may be subjected to for several painful years. Please consult a rhyming dictionary or website with your potential first names before committing to them.


Before I had my daughter, I had always liked the name Paige. Her mother preferred the name Isabella for her middle name. We did the rhyme test and decided there wasn’t anything serious we couldn’t overcome. Page, pager, rage, cage; whatever. Nothing quite disturbing there. Isabella might be a bit more challenging with words like smella or fella. Still, no big deal, right? The name passed the rhyme test easily.


But after combining the three initials, using my real last name, we realized we would have created a terrible situation. Her initials would have spelled the word PIG. Imagine the shame and embarrassment caused by having those initials embroidered on her little soccer bag. Had we not done the acronym test, our poor little piglet might have been on Prozac by the age of six.


There are several other negative three-letter words and acronyms you can form using people’s initials that you might want to avoid, like:


  • CUM

  • DIC

  • KKK

  • DIE

  • ZIT

  • DUM

  • RAT

  • SOB

  • GAS

  • BAD

  • HOR

  • BUM

  • SIN

  • ASS

  • TWT

  • FML

  • WTF

  • IDK


Always check the combined initials of your child’s first, middle, and last names before committing that name to that birth certificate.


Proper coaching before your child gets to school can alleviate or desensitize much of the embarrassment and stress that may accompany an already issued unfortunate name. Bullies look for weakness and tend to avoid strong personalities. A great comeback can shut a bully down permanently. It also doesn’t hurt if your kid is a mean looking 6’6” by the time he’s 12.


There’s also the legal option, which is often less costly and troublesome than a psychiatrist. Unfortunately, you have to be considered an adult by a court to legally change your name. Just don't put your baby in that predicament, and all will be good.

Please share this article so your friends and family won't make this same mistake!

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