The Duncan Banner


March 9, 2014

Kids shouldn’t have to pay for having punster parents

WAURIKA — Friends and neighbors, I’ve been cloistered in my Thought Chamber for the past few days, contemplating many high-brow philosophies and haughty hypothesis that we who think on a different level use to exercise our finely-tuned minds and remain intellectually superior to the Great Unwashed.

As you see, the time alone has been intellectually beneficial. I just composed an opening sentence (what we in the journalism dodge call a “lead”) that’s 46 words long.

My wife would suggest my Menza-esque exploration failed. Karen would say a “lead” that long is more proof I’ve become “El Windbag Grande.” But sometimes the depth of my gray matter slips past my Lovely Other.

Anyway, while packing my cerebellum with sublime knowledge, I became distracted by a problem in American society that’s very troubling but seldom discussed — the ridiculous names parents give their innocent children.

The issue of kids’ names moved to the front of my thought process while I was surfing the Internet. I discovered a book called Bad Baby Names, by Michael Sherrod and co-author Matthew Rayback.

The more I explored their work, the more convinced I became that we need federal legislation to restrain parents from hanging a moniker albatross around the necks of their chill’uns. It’s a practice that should be considered a form of child abuse.

In an exhaustive study, Sherrod and Rayback looked at census records all the way back to 1790. They found that for generations there have been parents unable to resist plaguing their children with a life of being known as Nighten Day, Blacken White, Starr Brite, Lotta Bull, Tuna Fish, Bowling Lane, Amanda Love and Carr Chase.

Friends and neighbors, I’m not making this up. Truth has always been stranger than fiction.

After all, many of us know the true story of James Stephen Hogg, a former governor of Texas, who turned his daughter into an eternal joke by naming her Ima. (Contrary to schoolyard lore, however, Ima did not have sisters named Ura or Wera.)

You’d think the misery Ima Hogg endured would have prompted parents to stay away from the first name Ima, but au contraire. Sherrod and Rayback discovered that Ima Weiner, Ima Reck, Ima Nutt, Ima Pain and Ima Butt are just a few of the suffering Imas in history.

The authors say one question kept popping up as they researched the book: What were these parents thinking?

Personally, I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. Royd were thinking at all, when they afflicted the name Emma on their little girl. I mean, no parents would name their kid Emma Royd on purpose, would they?

Sherrod and Rayback say: Indeed they would.

The parental pursuit of puns seems to know no bounds. Imagine the weight — and the desire to slap their parents — carried by former pro baseball players Milton Bradley and Angel Pagan. Do you think Fat Meat Fields, Pickle Parker, Harry Pigg, Panties Moberg, Vaseline Heart, Fertile Suggs and Toilet Queen appreciate their parents’ senses of humor?

Those of us who covered high school sports in Oklahoma in the 1990s know what Mr. and Mrs. Mothershed were, uh, thinking, when they dumped the dubious names Cocaine and Marijuana on their son and daughter.

Fellow Americans, isn’t it past time we — as a concerned collective or as a mob — addressed this regrettable form of child abasement that threatens to unravel the very fabric of our society? Aren’t we, as a people, not empathetic enough to resist creating low self-esteem among our chill’uns, and cause young people to become wallflowers or anti-social bullies because of ludicrous names?

With that in mind, I beseech our elected officials — maybe Tom Coburn or Jim Inhofe — to champion the Dweezil and Moon Unit Zappa Act. The DMUZ Act would target parents who shackle their children with a lifetime of embarrassment because they think humorous or inane names are so cute.

I propose parental punsters who violate the DMUZ Act should be fined, stuck in the stocks with “Kick Me” signs around their necks, and forced to change their names.

How about Fanny Pack for offending mothers and Num Butt for offending fathers?

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Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

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