Letter from the Editor

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

A baby by any other name is still sweet

I must be honest here, I gave my kids "byline names." Built for flexibility. Just in case.

If my daughter were one day writing for the Wall Street Journal, goodness forbid, she could be "Kathryn H. Larsen, reporting." If she wrote for Newsweek, she'd be "Kate Larsen." If she worked for Tiger Beat, I guess she'd be "Katie." If Rolling Stone, what, "K-La?"

Same with the son. If he one day rides the sports desk at the New York Times, he'd be "Christopher M. Larsen, reporting." If he's on SportsCenter, "Chris Larsen" would do. And if he's covering the X-Games, I suppose "C-Dog" or something.

What if they don't go into news? Well, I guess I forgot to consider that possibility. "C-Dog" wouldn't be such a good name for a secretary of the interior.

Still, we purposely went with pretty normal names. Ones that wouldn't get a kid's butt kicked on the playground, or adapt too easily to any of the nasty nicknames or reproductive organ jokes that we could think of.

It's a different deal if you're a celebrity, though. In case your career goes on the skids, you have to have offspring with attention-grabber names. Besides, it will ensure that the future therapists of Hollywood will always have work.

Consider "Apple" (Gwyneth Paltrow's baby), "Assisi" (Mick Jagger's grandkid), "Banjo" (Patrick Griffith's child); "Betty Kitten" (Jane Goldman); "Blue Angel" (Dave Evans); "Chester" (Tom Hanks); "Daisy Boo" (Jamie Oliver); "Dixie Dot" (Anna Ryder Richardson); "Elijah Bob Patricus Guggi Q" (Bono should be shot); "Gulliver" (Gary Oldman); "Milo" (Ricki Lake); "Ocean," "True" and "Sonnet" (Forest Whitaker); "Pilot Inspektor" (actor Jason Lee - and we need that bullet back that we were saving for Bono); "Racer," "Rebel" and "Rocket" (director Robert Rodriguez' boys); "Rocco" (Madonna, of course); and "Seven" (Erykah Badu isn't even original, that was stolen from an old Seinfeld bit.)

It's not easy to be taken seriously as a stockbroker with a handle like Guggi Q, I imagine. That may be the idea. But I am granted hope for the sanity of the planet by the fact that unfortunate celebrity child Zowie Bowie and changed his name. To "Joe."

Maryeay Carver sends along some "Idiot sightings" collected from apparently true stories on the web:

* I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a

new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the Deer Crossing sign on our road. The reason: "too many deer were being hit by cars" and he didn't want them to cross there anymore.

* My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for "minimal lettuce." He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg.

* I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an

airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge? To which I replied, "If it

was without my knowledge, how would I know? He smiled knowingly and nodded, "That's why we ask."

* The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectually challenged coworker of mine when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?!" She was

a probation officer.

* At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker who was leaving the company due to "downsizing,"our manager commented cheerfully, "this is fun. We should do this more often." Not a word was spoken. We all

just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

* I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her couldn't understand why her system would not turn on. A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriff's office no less.

* When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. "Hey," I announced to the technician, "it's

open!" To which he replied, "I know - I already got that side." This was at the Ford dealership in Canton, Mississippi.