What’s in a Name?

Being someone whose name is butchered on more than one occasion, I can tell you a whole lot. MSNBC.com reports on some of the all time worst baby names.

Just recently, I went on a job interview where one of the interviewers made a comment that he hadn’t seen my name spelled like that before (Kaitlin) and I responded that I’d seen it all my life. He didn’t find that funny.

It does beg the question, though. How much are you rewarded or punished based on your name? My grandfather was named after the steel mill his father worked in (being child number 13, we like to joke that they just ran out of names by the time he came along). There was an article written about him in the local newspaper when he was born and he even went on to work in that mill himself, but now that that particular company has since been bought out, walking around with the name Armco just seems a bit odd.

Well, I’m sure it’s odd no matter what, but think about it like this. Let’s say a kid was named Coke after Coca-Cola, but then Coca-Cola goes out of business (hey, suspend your disbelief, this is a hypothetical). Mr. Coke Smith would then sound a bit, well, stupid. Not to mention reminiscent of drug terminology.

So, is it that because my name is a bit more on the normal side, I’m not allowed to be a bit quirky? Strangers have already placed me in a category restricted to the Micheals and Michelles of the world? If I were named Sunshine would that interviewer have been expecting someone a bit different right off the bat?

Mmm, perhaps I think about this far too much, but from my days of being a file clerk I can tell you my two favorite names: Muhammed Mohammed and Cocoa Hershey. Oh yes, they really exist. And I remember them; I appreciate those names more than the James Smith III files.