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A girl called Johnny, a boy named Sue

01 June 2013, 23:00

"Good morning, my name is Danie and I am here today to present …

My mind started drifting upon the introduction already. I realised I was going to be bored out of my skull with the compulsory presentation, but I still thought I was going to make it past the pleasantries at least.

Danie obviously comes from Daniel – as in the biblical figure, and carried over from the Great Trek through generations of burly men choosing to name their sons after them to let the legend of the Daniel meaning live on.

The thing is (While my eyes tried following the animated figure of the short, balding Danie; jumping up and down to get his points across); I find some naming of persons, animals and other commodities nothing short of criminal.

Just by summoning up the names of persons I deal with on a daily basis, I cannot begin to understand the origin, or what inspired the parents to evoke such a huge ball and chain wrath upon their offspring.

Koos, Piet, Johan, John, Mary, Sannie etc. supposedly are all hereditary names; just passed along without any thought of trying to put any personality in the name itself, but have worth due to their historic family connotation. Still, if I shout “Johan!” loud enough in the office, I have four guys looking up from their work at me.

On the extreme there is Blessing, Moonflower, Patience, River and Marlowe Ottoline Layng (Sja, Sienna Miller’s baby!).

Do we tend to go a bit moggy when choosing the name of our child? Is it because we cannot get over the fact that we actually produced this little wonder, and feel we have to brand it with something nobody will forget, everybody may confuse with others or nobody can pronounce?

More often than not, kids (especially) tend to give nicknames to their peers whose names they hesitate to call out or pronounce.

Hence the everyday people we deal with who are called Vissie, Blackie, Tiny (usually everything but), Meisie etc. Of the more unusual names can often be found in Rugby, where descriptive names seem a bit stretched to say the least. Os, Draad, Baksteen & Bakkies would all have been given by excited and adoring teammates, while in football Ace, Shoes or Lucky tend to be more self-appreciative pseudonyms.

The fun doesn't stop at people though; even in the motoring world we tend to go beyond the realms of reality to fetch names like Geely Beauty Leopard, Ford Edsel, Mazda Bongo Friendee, AMC Gremlin, Chev Citation and Dodge Dart Swinger.

I have no idea how well the sales figures were for these particular brands, but I would venture a guess that some potential customers were left cold upon seeing the name for the first time.

By all means, we own the things we name (in case of children, at least for a while), so it really is up to us to come up with an easy calling and sophisticated dog name like Princess Stanley or Earl Wrecker of Wright. It does seem that we have an obsession in naming not only our creations and acquired items, but also parts of our body.

Some men are known to give particularly fond names to their penises, or their partners name it for them; anything from Little Johnny (for the more "balanced" type) to Sable, Canon or Trunk (for the "wishing size" type). I just couldn't imagine saying to my girl that "Little Rammsteen" is feeling a bit queasy today and won’t be up to his usual tricks.

Cannot we just keep things simple and call them for what they are, or at least come up with names that are easy on the tongue and the mind. It is all good and well to come up with an exotic name, but then make sure the object is something in that line – like a flower or a new wine.

The point is that we tend to name especially children and dogs according to what our emotion leads us to believe are cool. Emotion is hardly ever “cool”; it’s cool as in temperature or very hot, but never cool as in cewl; cool?

"Well I named you Sue, and I said goodbye - I knew you'd have to get tough or die..." rings the lyrics of Johnny Cash's song - which has merit.

Naming the boy Sue so he can grow strong to fight his way out of ridicule; at least the name Sue was not given on the wings of an emotional rush.

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