It all depends on whom you talk to. A baby name that you find distasteful and inappropriate just might appeal to another parent's fancy. What do you think these names have in common: Garage Empty, Hysteria Johnson, King Arthur, Infinity Hubbard, Please Cope, Major Slaughter, Helen Troy and Satan. These are real names of real people, according to researchers Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback who painstakingly went through census data from 1790 to 1930 looking for bad baby names and usage patterns. This worthy exercise in etymology surely reminds us of Johnny Cash and his chart buster "A Boy Named Sue" which he first sang at a live concert in California in 1969. There were two implied assertions - first, that you could still be a decent kid and an even better grown-up if you had a bad baby name. Secondly, your parents really don't need to be mortified for the rest of their lives even if they overstepped their bounds when naming you. Many children with bad baby names have turned out OK at the end of the day.
Why do parents resort to such unusual behavior? It is all about identity. Some parents have believed for centuries that if your baby was given a strange, unusual or distinct name, the child will be able to carve a unique identity for himself or herself. Remember Frank Zappa's daughter and "Valley Girl." Frank zappa named his daughter Moon Unit Zappa and she sure turned out OK. The same holds true for Dweezil, her brother whose name is perhaps more unusual.
Although there are studies which conclude that children with unusual names don't do as well in school as those with "usual" names, the evidence is certainly not conclusive. Just look around your community, your workplace and in your local newspaper and you will notice that many highly successful politicians, performers and other celebrities have unusual names. Even today, folks with unusual names such as Candy Stohr, Candy Cane, Miles Ahead, Spring Bath, Cash Guy, Mary Christmas, River Jordan , Rasp Berry and Happy Day are alive and well busily going about their business in our cris-crossed existence called life.
Choosing a name for your baby boy or baby girl is like embarking on a treasure hunt where you are a guaranteed winner. That perfect baby name is out there somewhere, carefully concealed between the folds of a baby naming book...