Big trouble’s brewing. And I only just realized this a few weeks ago, but I wondered if I should post it on my blog or not. Then I thought, what the hell––it’s my blog. Anyway, there’s a crisis approaching our youngsters. It’s not a financial, nor natural. It’s not work related, and it’s not health, education, or anything else that might be of concern to a parent.
It’s their name.
Specifically their last name, their family name. The horror of this is a real thing, and I hope that you think long and hard about this pebble you drop off the cliff on one side of the bay, for it can transform into a tsunami for folks on the other.
Some friends of mine got married. The woman assumed the man’s family name. That’s fine. Tradition, even. Whose last name is used doesn’t concern me really––the husband could also take his wife’s last name for all I care. Sure, why not. But this growing trend of combining last names is what is dangerous, like a ready-to-pop boil on a person’s back, just waiting to be rubbed up against a rough section of concrete wall. Yes, it could potentially be that ugly.
Now, actually combining two last names isn’t a problem in itself, much like any number of common household cleaners found under the sink. One can mix fine with another. No problem. But if the couple decide to have youngsters, and the youngsters grow up, find mates (the natural course of things, I might add), that’s when the problem starts. Like a third cleaner added into the vat, the reaction has begun.
Allow me to clarify:
Chris Funkydork and Mary Bridgeburner get hitched. They combine their names to reflect their equality in this marriage (I hate using the word partnership—too business-like for me), and their new name becomes Funkydork-Bridgeburner, or Bridgeburner-Funkydork, if you like.
They have little girl. Sara Bridgeburner-Funkydork.
Sara grows up and meets Joey Fist-Fatulence. You can see the chain set in motion now, right. But I’ll plow forward, just to push my point, and build the horror (I am a horror writer).
So our young couple becomes Sara and Joey Bridgeburner-Funkydork-Fist-Fatulence (or Fist-Fatulence-Bridgeburner-Funkydork if you like… I like.)
They have a child. Oh yes they do. They have a bouncing boy… let’s call him, Leroy.
So it’s Leroy Fist-Fatulence-Bridgeburner-Funkydork. An eye catching name, and certainly one that will take time to say stoically, without so much as a cheek twitch.
Little Leroy grows up. Meets Elizabeth Chewbroski-Anderson-Dickie-Slough, his love, and marries her after a few years of living together. They have a little girl, and call her Angela. Angela Fist-Fatulence-Bridgeburner-Funkydork-Chewbroski-Anderson-Dickie-Slough …or Chewbroski-Anderson-Dickie-Slough-Fist-Fatulence-Bridgeburner-Funkydork, if you like (and I’m LOVING it).
Now, Angela grows up with practically two tons of syllables on her back. People do not forget her name, nor do they risk embarrassment by asking for it a second time. Her peers just introduce her as “Angie,” while receptionists and other such professionals simply call her “miss.” She hates filing out applications of any sort, as it brings on tendinitis in her writing hand. But onwards she goes, through life, until she meets the man of her dreams.
Almost forgot. His middle name is Burt.
SO (takes deep breath) they commit to this unholy union—an etymologist’s wet dream––and copulate, to produce….
Yes, Sammy Fist-Fatulence-Bridgeburner-Funkydork-Chewbroski-Anderson-Dickie-Slough-Stretch-Marks-Hair-Baals-Cog-Chokes-Cummings-Sanchez. Or the other way, if you truly are a glutton for punishment.
Sammy grows up (Yes, I’m going through this one more time to punch home the horror of it all––all about the HORROR) and ages people as he introduces himself. His name becomes a weapon of mass sleep inducement. Sammy is a little off as well, and delights in saying his full name at every opportunity, belting it out like a warrior celt.
He becomes a writer of dictionaries and meets his future wife…. Betty Lots-Bum-Buster-Frump-Dingleberry-Fusia-Long-Suckstobeme-Grump-Garble-Chugs-Bramblebuck-Foot-Long-Nails-Freternoggin.
They mate. And have offspring… and call the little boy… Bob.
Bob, upon reaching the legal age and refusing to continue the foolishness, quickly changes his surname to Arbuckle, and moves to Bora Bora.
Do I have a point to this? Not really. I had time to kill. But I do think there is a danger in the trend of merging names. A very real danger. So, please consider the effect you will have on generations when … naming yourselves.