This one got past me back in November; it showed up on one of yahoo’s ‘Best/Worst of’ lists, though: When she’s in her 90’s, sitting in her wheelchair at the dinner table at the home, the nice server can set her plate of mashed peas in front of her with a cheery, ‘There you go, Grandma Hashtag.’ Of course, with some of the other absolutely bizarre names parents have been hanging on their kids in the past decade, she probably won’t be alone with a handle that makes her cringe.
Look, you know that little bundle of pinkness there in the hospital nursery? That’s not a doll. Nor is it a dog, cat, canary, boat, jet ski, muscle-car or any other toy you can think of. It’s a human being, with feelings, emotions, the ability to think and reason, and a life expectancy of probably 80 or 90 years, all of which may combine to set up a big old bucket of resentment against her parents for slapping what rightly ought to be considered a nickname in the ‘Given Name’ space on her birth certificate.
If you listen at all to the news these days, kids apparently have everything going against them – they’re bullied, they’re impoverished, they’re hovered over by overprotective parents, they’re not allowed to ‘be themselves’ (whatever that’s supposed to mean). So, to add insult to injury, some parents have an overwhelming urge to throttle them with a name which they’re going to have to explain to all and sundry for the better part of their lives. And talk about painting a target on their kids for the schoolyard bullies? Cripes, anybody out there remember the Johnny Cash song A Boy named Sue?
For cryin’ out loud, parents, I know that the kid is yours – yeah, you made ‘em, you’re going to raise ‘em, you’re going to be responsible for them until they’re eighteen (or 21, or whatever), but that doesn’t give you the right to name them after the first thing you see when your eyes unclamp after that last big contraction that pops the kid into the doctor’s hands like a fastball into the catcher’s mitt, okay? And if the above-mentioned little girl wasn’t born blue with a beak and feathers, there’s no sensible reason to call her ‘Hashtag’.
Whatever name parents give their kids is going to be that kid’s name until they day they shuffle off this mortal coil. Give them a name they don’t have to explain every other day; don’t give them a name that other kids (and grownups, too) will snicker at behind their backs (if your last name is Maket, for instance, don’t name your son Willie, okay?); and for the love of mercy, don’t name your kid after a passing fad, like PacMan, or, well, in short, don’t do this crap, okay?
If you want to call your kid Hashtag, or whatever, that’s fine – but remember, it’s a nickname, not the name you put on their birth certificate, okay? And wait on the nickname until the kid’s got their own name down pat.