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Name game

February 15, 2010 - Nikki Younk
Do you cringe every time you see clueless parents giving their children extraordinary names? Maybe you see them in birth announcements or celebrity gossip magazines. Names like Apple, Moses, Brooklyn, Kingston, or Axel.

Always consider the possibility of playground taunting when naming your newborn. Weird and sentimental names are out. Also, think about initials—no B.O. or B.S., please. To do otherwise, you risk a lifetime (well, school years, at least) of misery for your child.

I’ve had my fair share of embarassment over my own names, so I speak from experience. Then again, I was a very shy child, so I was embarrassed by my own shadow.

Let’s start with my first name—Nikki. Not so bad, right? Wrong! You see, my legal name is simply Nikki, not Nicole, Nicola, Nicolette, etc, etc. Try explaining that to someone. The response has always been the same. “That’s so weird! Why would your parents only name you Nikki?”

Then we have the big middle name—Euphrasia (that’s yoo-FRAYZ-jah). Never met a Euphrasia before, have you? Now that I’m older, I respect the name (it was my great-grandmother’s first name) and appreciate its unique-ness (it’s the name of a flower and a saint!). But back when I was growing up? No way. I would either lie about my middle name (Elizabeth, Eve, Jean, whatever I could think of) or keep silent. This could be awkward in classroom situations.

Finally, we have the un-pronounce-able last name—Younk. I’ve heard it all with this name. Some people say Yahnk, some say Yownk, some say Yeeunk. I probably don’t even now how to say it correctly. My best approximation is Yunk. Of course, this pronunciation lends itself to undesirable rhymes, including skunk, junk, stunk, lunk, and funk. Oh the humanity!

On top of all of that, my initials are N.Y.—New York. Puts a whole new meaning on those “I (heart) N.Y.” shirts, right?

Now that you know about my own pain and suffering as a child, you surely won’t give your own kid strange names, will you?

Just be safe and stick to John or Jane Doe.


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