That's the title of a philosophy book that I can never hope to understand. Since I can't understand it, I am instead using the catchiness of the title to refer to the naming of offspring. (How banal!)
Some of you know me in real life, and you know that I have a very, very boring name. All three of my names are common. To provide some context, at nearly every place I have ever been educated or worked, there is someone else with my name - first and last names, and even sometimes first, middle, and last names. My name is the equivalent of, say, Emily Ann Smith.
At my first job, when I was a young professional, I once found that suddenly I was receiving no emails at all. What soon came to light was that a secretary in the London office had recently gotten married, and she had changed her name such that she was also now Emily Smith. The IT department had simply changed her email without checking to see whether anyone else already had emily.smith@thiscompany. I distinctly remember being on a business trip and calling the Help(less) Desk from a pay phone (this was before the days of widespread cell phone usage; I am old), trying to get them to change her email to something else, and they kept trying to tell me that I had to change my email now to emily.a.smith@thiscompany, which resulted in my blurting out, venomously, "But she's a secretary!" Yes, I sold out the sisterhood. I am not proud of this. But I got my email address back and she had to be emily.a.smith. Ha!
I didn't change my name when I got married. I wasn't inclined to do so to begin with, since even though my name is dull, I was rather used to it. Also, I often sign my emails with my initials, and I identify with those initials - some people even just call me by my initials. Moreover, my husband's last name, while less common, isn't really any more exciting. It's no Spinoza or Slater or Del Toro, no Hamburger or von Trapp or Boutros Ghali. His whole name isn't much more thrilling than mine - and he's a Junior. His mother tried to lobby us to name our little fellow the same name, and I didn't even pretend for a moment to consider it. I may have even said, Pish-tosh! or Poppycock!
What I'm getting at is that I feel a burden to name our son something interesting. But then I am afraid of naming him something too interesting, since that isn't my style, either. We've bounced around a few candidates, all of which will remain secret until he debuts (knock on wood). There were a couple of names that looked particularly promising - slightly left of center, just like us.
Well, in the past three weeks, friends of ours have stolen our names! (Okay, "stolen" isn't the right word, since we uncharacteristically hadn't breathed a word of our ideas to anyone, but you know what I mean.) First, my husband's ex-almost-stepsister named her son one of "our" names. Of the two names in question, this one struck me as much more likely to become fashionable, so I rolled with it. But then today I learned that our across-the-street neighbors (and fellow IVFers) named their son the second name, which I thought no one would ever come up with. All this goes to show that we are all breathing in the same influences, I suppose, and that resistance is futile. We will just have to pick a name we like, even if that means "taking" a name someone else has already used. (But, for the record, note that I would never steal someone's, like, family name or really unique name or anything like that.)
What are your thoughts on names (your own, your existing or prospective children's, or other people's)?