Monday, January 6, 2014

What's in a name?

When my wife and I were expecting our first child, we worked at finding just the right name. Now this was a time when the sex of the child was not readily available or given to parents. However, my wife felt positive it would be a girl and that was our focus. After reading many baby name books (yes, this was a time be for the Internet), we came up with one that be both liked. We told family and friends on our pick.  We were so excited to have a daughter named Melanie.

Then she was born.  Everyone in the delivery room wanted to know what my wife and I would name the new little girl. Funny things was we didn't know. We both agreed she didn't look like a Melanie and decided we'd wait until the next day as it was now well after midnight.

That night it came to me. The sweet little face. Blond hair. Blue eyes.  She'd looked like a Becky. Of course, I could hardly wait to tell my wife the next day when I returned to the hospital.  I arrived just as the nurse brought my new daughter to my wife.  I was about to blurt out the name when my wife announced she had thought of what we should name the baby. I had learned even at this early point in my married life not to argue. Somewhat dejected, I said, "Go ahead. What is the name you picked?"

Holding the baby up and staring down in her sweet face, my wife said, "Let's name her Becky."
Amazed, I asked how she came up with the same name I had thought up.  My wife said, "She looks like a Becky."

The same logic goes for characters in a story. They need names that fit them.  A nineteen year old hottie would not do well named Mildred.  An Italian immigrant named Fred would not be to convincing. I recall a kids show from years ago with a silly Frankenstein monster called Brucie. Funny but not scary.

Shakespeare said: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." True, but a dozen bananas would never be as well-received for a wedding anniversary.

A clip from that old TV show...

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