This is my son, Stunned Monkey Kidney Liver, Jr.

January 11, 2009

(This post inspired by the story ‘Jack and Sophie making names for themselves,’ published in the Jan. 8 New Zealand Herald.)

It seems strange to think my name is now on the endangered list.

John is in the Bible, for crissakes. Several times, if memory serves. The greatest band in the world (uh, that would be the Beatles, my young, annoying, rap-addled  friends) had a member named John.

My father’s name is John. His father’s name was John. I’m John III, John 3.0 — a sequel to a sequel. I’m my family’s version of Revenge of the Sith.

But a popular name in our family does not, apparently, translate to present day New Zealand. A perusal of the recently-released list of most popular baby names for 2008, as registered with the Department of Internal Affairs’ office of Births, Deaths and Marriages, shows my magnificent moniker floundering way down at No. 54, tied with Cody and but a single usage ahead of Luca. Luca? WTF?

I guess I shouldn’t complain. Being at 54 is actually an improvement over the past two years, when John ranked 61st in 2007 and could do no better than 63rd in 2006. In the only other two years on the IA press release, John sat at 47 in 2005 and 46 in 2005.

John, it seems, is in the crapper.

In case you were curious, the top five boys’ names in New Zealand last year were, in order: Jack, James, William, Samuel and Joshua. All solid names. All with history. Most with Biblical roots. And all, sad to say, working to push John off the birth certificate and out of the spotlight.

Having said that, it must be noted that, at one time, Jack was a derivative of John, similar to the relationship Bill and Will have with William, and Bob to Robert. In fact, to his family, my father was known as Jack, to avoid being mistaken for his father when it came time for chores.

To the rest of the world, he was John, meaning there were two of us in our household when I was growing up. That was always fun when someone would call asking to speak to John. Dad wound up chatting to several of my friends, while I had to deal with his work buddies. All fun and games, I assure you.

But, according to the NZ Herald piece that first stirred me to think of the name game, the dawn of a new century has seen Jack become an entity unto itself, no doubt inspired by 24 and Lost and those Pirates of the Caribbean movies (at the risk of putting too fine of a point on it, yes, I am our family’s version of  At World’s End.)

The result is that I can no longer lay claim to even a small piece of Jack from way down here at 54.

One solution to this abhorrent lack of John-dom would be to father several more children and name them all after myself, following in the honored footsteps of Michael Jackson’s assorted Prince Michaels. But Viking Woman tends to frown at me whenever I mention further offspring and then inquires as to where “John” ranks on the list of 2008 obits.

I have a strange feeling that’s her way of saying no.

In the interest of equality, New Zealand’s top five girls’ names for 2008 were Sophie, Olivia, Ella, Isabella and Charlotte.

All fairly standard and all comfortably old-fashioned in an age when celebrities appear to name their children by throwing darts at a dictionary.

But lest you think all Kiwis are quaint and slightly boring and a bit on the timid, unadventurous side, Internal Affairs also released a list of names it refused to register.

How would you like to go through life answering to Fish and Chips? What about Mower, Yeah Detroit, Stallion, Twisty Poi, Keenan Got Lucy or Sex Fruit?

What part of “Just Say No To Drugs” did these people not understand? Oh, right — none of it.

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2 Responses to “This is my son, Stunned Monkey Kidney Liver, Jr.”

  1. Megan said

    You will be pleased to know that 17 babies born in British Columbia Canada in 2008 were named John. No girls though…I checked. AND, in there were 72 baby boys born in the Province named John. If I ever have another baby, girl prefferably, she will be named John.

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