A few days ago, I shared this story. It’s the tale of a girl whose name was mocked – loudly – by a Southwest Airlines employee.
The child’s name? Abcde, pronounced AHB-sid-ee.
In an interview, the mom explained that her daughter overheard the cruel comments. She told her daughter: Not everybody’s gonna be nice, and it’s unfortunate.
Because when I shared it – and as I’ve seen it discussed elsewhere – lots of comments have been catty and cruel. Things like, “with a name like that, she’s in for a lifetime of mocking.” And so on.
Friends, we’re just not getting it.
No matter how outlandish the name, it’s not okay to mock. I’ve learned this the hard way. Because I have mocked names or trends in the past. There’s probably plentiful evidence on the site of needlessly cruel things I’ve said.
It’s tough, because when we pick names, we desperately want to know that we’re making good choices. The impossible thing? Names are not good or bad. They carry associations that may please us, meanings that we may personally find challenging. For some families, Winifred is The Name. For others, it’s Ella or Sloane or Abcde. People are infinitely different, interesting, and worthy. Why should our names not be every bit as complex?
For what it’s worth, this girl is not the first Abcde by a mile. Nancy wrote about it. And, interestingly, it’s kind of a Texas thing, which tracks – the family in question was flying home to El Paso.
But I also understand that we very much want to talk about names. And some truly are pretty outlandish. Abcde makes me raise an eyebrow because, well, it’s gimmicky, like Nevaeh or Alucard. It can be hard to express that feeling without crossing a line. But odds are that, if I met the family in person, there would be a story behind the name choice, and I’d come to appreciate it.
So I don’t have a good solution, any more than I did way back when I issued this post eight years ago. But I’ll still go with this: Please comment with a generous spirit, and please read the comments with a degree of generosity towards our fellow man.
- That argument happens all over the world. In Sweden, at the moment, it’s Skrot in the spotlight.
- An Orlando Marlow called Ozzie in these birth announcements – love!
- I think some of these super-rare names have rich potential.
- All the Lindseys are my age these days … but it’s the kind of name I would’ve wanted for myself at twelve or thirteen. And it will almost certainly be back again … some day.
- When it comes to choosing unusual names, it can be tough to know how far is too far. Good advice from Duana here.
- Easton Vaughn Rek Miller, a new son for athlete Bode Miller. I think names like Rek are interesting as middles, or, better yet, bonus middles, as is the case here. And I love the story about how they chose his first name.
- Have you nominated a Name of the Year for 2018 yet? I’m drawing a blank, but I like the suggestion of Beto. And, to bring us back to where we started, Abcde.
That’s all for this week. As always, thank you for reading – and have a great week!