This Christmas I watched Bad Santa. For me it was a rerun; my third viewing. Anyone who has seen this movie was either put off by the profanity or thought it was frickin’ hilarious. I’m among the latter. The movie is politically incorrect; seldom appropriate; often vulgar; but downright funny. The fat kid in the picture to the left latched onto Santa, who holed up in the kid’s house, while avoiding the authorities. He was a Bad Santa.
After an hour into the movie, “Kid” gave Santa his report card (all Cs, with one B). Santa looked at the grades and focused on the boy’s name. “Your name is Thurman?” “Yeah.” “Your name is Thurman Merman?” “Yeah.” Then he looked at the kid with this expression that could only be associated with the thought, “You poor, pathetic loser. No wonder your life is so screwed. What kind of name is that?” Exactly.
Now let’s go through a scenario of the Life and Times of an Ill-Named Child. The first traumatic experience will be at roll call in grade school. Chipper and anxious to learn, until their name is called out by the teacher. This embarrassment lasts however long roll is called. If it’s Reform School, it could be until 18. If college, 22. Then there is employment. An office job brings with it name plates on the office door or cubicles, name badges at any business events and business cards. The snickers and chortles never end, because there is just too much exposure.
What are some parents thinking? They seem not to be able to forecast what a name can do to a child’s future. Richard Head, Tom Thumb, Ira Heinilick, Hymen (anything), Isabell Ringing, Easton West, Howard Ewdune. Should I continue? I like funny names. I mean no offense to anyone whose name may really be one of the aforementioned Monikers. Nothing personal, but the names are funny.
If you go through life responding to “Thurman Merman,” which carries with it wedgies and ass-whippings that linger until adulthood, you have to look at your parents and ask, “What did I do?” “Did I come out of the womb sideways? Did I look too much like Dad? Why did you punish me like this?” Sure, it’s rebellious and patriotic to name a child “America” or “Freedom,” if at the time of birth, you were on some acid trip and flexing your political muscle. But the kid has to spend about 75 years lugging around an Albatross. Imagine being at the Assisted Living Facility and after a lifetime of questions, still explaining your name to the staff, while placing your teeth in the jar and hair on the lampshade. Mom? Dad? Scarred For Life is not a video game. Don’t try to be funny when naming your kids.
I always liked the name Sir Dingle Foot. He was a member of the British Parliament, who died choking on a sandwich in 1978. How he died is not what fascinates me; choking on food is a common occurrence (not always leading to death). What puzzles me is the name “Dingle.” It’s quite possible there may be more than one person in the world named “Dingle.” My question is, “Why?”