One of my favourite husband-wife games I like to play is "What's a cool name." My wife often confuses this game with a similar game called "Baby names." These are very similar games, where you each take turns (or repeated attempts) at saying a name that you think is really cool.
The difference between the two games is: in "What's a Cool Name," you're just considering what makes a name awesome. You say a cool word, and then decide what it is that makes it a cool name. In "Baby Names" you're looking for a name you'd be not embarrassed to call your kid.
ANYHOW: there are lots of cool names, that my wife thinks are awful names, because she's playing "Baby Names" while I'm playing "What's a Cool Name." In some instances (very, very rare instances) we find a name that works during both games - even though we're still NOT playing the same game. In this instance we are actually playing a different game altogether - that game is called "Being Married."
This is when we're both happy with something, even though we have totally different stakes on the line. This game is heavily based on luck and circumstance.
While I'm playing "What's a cool name" I'm kind of playing "Baby Names," too, but I'm more interested in understanding what it is that makes a name great. For example, I think Charlemagne is a very cool name. You could go by Charlie for short (with a soft Ch as in "sh"arlie for short). Very cool. and a good name. A good Baby Name, though? Whoa, whoa whoa, I'm not necessarily playing that game.
I'll often come up with a cool name that I want to use in one of my stories - for example, I really, really think George-Michael is an awesome name, but ... it carries some masturbating in public baggage, so you tweak it to be cool, even though it's the same thing. For example, you would change George into Spanish, which is Gustavo, and then Michael into Scandanavian or Finnish or something, becoming Miko. Gustavo-Miko is a f-ing awesome name. Just as good, if not better than George Michael.
So - for Nanowrimo, I'm using David Gustavo-Miko as the museum's lawyer. I like the name, even though it looks a little out of place. It sounds awesome, and don't forget it.
Another very cool name that I just drafted before I started posting this blog (which put me on the subject of cool names) was a character that I wanted to look like Wesley Snipes. I have to think of what kind of role I want this character to play, plus, I want to consider what they're going to act like. So - I'm proud to announce the new name of the newest character I've ever invented:
Eretum Montoro. I think his middle name will be Moore. [for the record, I like names that belong to cities, provinces and countries - or significant historical figures.]
When we're playing "Baby Names" I have two rules. The first is, you can't play the "Classic Christian" version because that version is tired and old. Too many people like to play the "Classic Christian" version of "Baby Names" where you basically reduce your options for baby names from the universal set, to a selection between Mathew, Mark, Luke and John (with the wild-card options of Michael, Christopher, Daniel and Adam). If you want cool Christian names, go a bit wild and use Caleb, Gabriel, Tobias ... Hell, go with Deuteronomy for all I care - just give the classic christian shit a break for a few decades, alright? My new choice for the "Classic Christian" version of "Baby Names" is "Numbers." Nobody names their kid Numbers - even though that's not a terrible part of whatever testament that book was in.
Now, I will concede, there are LOTS of people who really love to play the "Classic Christian" version, and I'm not going to take that away from you. I don't think less of it, I don't think it's unacceptable or lacking of effort - and ultimately, those names have more longevity than Ethyl, Bernice, Marjorie, Muriel and Eunice - I just think that when you're playing the game, you shouldn't reduce your creative limits so strictly, that's all. Real life is not a game, and you are honored to name your child whatever you like. The name is among one of the first things you give a child after you give it life, so ... it is a precious gift.
Take some time to pick it out, I guess is what I'm saying. But if all you're doing is playing a game - break the mold a bit and have some fun. The imagination is not for just the very young.
[For the record, when your last name is Rogers, you should always consider naming your children Kenny, Buck, Roy and Ginger. Those names have had success in the past - there's no reason to think they wouldn't be awesome once again.]
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