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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Name Game

A customer looked at my name badge today and cried out, “Bruce! What a manly name! I have a cat named Bruce. It’s a girl.”

I’m one of the few people in the world who doesn’t mind their own name. I don’t even mind the nicknames associated with it. I’ve always been called Bruce The Goose or Bruce The Moose, but as a teenager my favourite was Loose Bruce, which I always wished I’d had the opportunity to earn.

I love having kids.  Admittedly this may not come across during homework or at bedtime, but it’s true. Like all parents I love the hugs and the little kisses and the hilarious things they say borne out of innocence. Like when Master6 told Tracey her bum was fat. Hilarious.

Without a doubt the best thing about having kids, though, is naming them. I’m picking names from the moment we conceive.

In my humble opinion, the world’s worst baby namer is (was) Frank Zappa, father of Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Makes Gwyneth’s young Apple look un-newsworthy, doesn’t it? A friend of ours worked in Africa as a teacher in the eighties and had students named Shower Rack and Chlamydia, because the parents didn't speak English and liked the way the words sounded. And people got upset when I suggested Texas Katie for Miss7 ?!? 

Tracey considers herself quite busy enough making eyebrows and getting the fingernails in the right spots to bother with names. However she did insist on naming the last one – and it was a very frustrating process for me because she took forever.

Making the whole thing even more time consuming is Tracey won’t allow us to use names we’d chosen for previous children. Names we’ve loved and then discarded as good-as-used have included Charlie, Harley, Emily and Lachlan. Feel free to use them. We won’t be.

Funnily enough, my wife’s one suggestion this time around for a girl’s name has been Grace. Until she realised she already had a daughter with that name. Ladies, can I just say it is both a privilege and a pleasure to watch a baby brain in action.  It was pleasing she was finally making a suggestion though, because her input is usually confined to single word responses – yes or no. Mainly no.

I’ll say Mary, she’ll say no. I’ll say Siobhan, she’s say no. I’ll say Mary, she’ll say no. I’ll say Kitty, she’ll say no. I’ll say Heather, she’ll say no. I’ll say Kimberly, she’ll say no. I’ll say Mary, she’ll say no.

I've been trying to have a girl named Mary for 19 years. I had a dog named Mary in PNG. I loved that dog.

One thing Tracey is especially good at is avoiding baby naming potholes – she’s really good at word association. I’ll say Charlotte, she’s say harlot. I’ll say Beatrice, she’ll say Beetroot. I'll say Jane, she'll say Plain Jane. I’ll say Mary, she’ll say no.

I have no less than five baby name books in the house which I’ve picked up at book sales and garage sales, and there is usually a baby name website open on my laptop. We (I) like to find out if we’re having a boy or a girl fairly early in the process because it halves the workload. This time is a little different because although we won’t find out if it’s a boy or a girl until next week we've sorted the boy’s name at least – Christopher, after a dear departed friend of ours.

But as much as I really want to name a boy for my friend the real reason I want a boy is I’m about three months and a few hundred no’s off having a girl’s one ready.

Although it’s just occurred to me lots of people name their kid’s after themselves. And apparently Bruce is a girl’s name. Right?

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About Me

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Bruce Devereaux is one of the nicest people he knows. When not at work he enjoys reading, writing, hiding from his children and not changing nappies.


His career, and if we used the term any more loosely an e might fall out, has included a gardener, a personal lender, a console operator, a stop/go man (not as big a bludge as you might think but great if you’re into sunburn, abuse and varicose veins), a cleaner of banks and pubs and, for a very brief period, a door to door salesman (until the last door he knocked on was answered by a very scary woman with tremendously hairy legs).


Bruce Devereaux currently works as a forty-five-year-old award winning customer service officer (glass statuette available upon request) for the Bank of Queensland and as a very casual employee for Corrective Services. He likes to believe he excels at both but then he has always been prone to exaggeration.


His favourite colour is green, with a picture of Dame Nellie Melba on one side and General Sir John Monash on the other. His favourite flower is self-raising.

 If you see him around town, call his wife immediately - he's probably snuck out and left her alone with all the kids.


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