I’m going to change my views on names 180 degrees right here, right now. For years I’ve been complaining about all the unusual names we have to deal with at newspapers. A reporter submits a story about a man named John Smith. That doesn’t raise this editor’s suspicion. But the next day, we get a call from Jon Smythe, upset that we’ve spelled his name wrong. “Why can’t parents give their kids some NORMAL names?” I’ve been heard to lament a time or two or 90. But I changed my mind this weekend.

I’m going to change my views on names 180 degrees right here, right now.

For years I’ve been complaining about all the unusual names we have to deal with at newspapers.

A reporter submits a story about a man named John Smith. That doesn’t raise this editor’s suspicion. But the next day, we get a call from Jon Smythe, upset that we’ve spelled his name wrong.

Alternatively, we have a name like Brittleigh Johnnsen or Janett Johnes or CalleeAnn Andreis, and we cannot help but question whether the reporter or photographer might have made a mistake. It can be impossible to find out for sure on deadline.

“Why can’t parents give their kids some NORMAL names?” I’ve been heard to lament a time or two or 90.

But I changed my mind this weekend.

That was when my daughter, April, and my son, Zach, both came home from college. My daughter came trailing her boyfriend, also named Zach, and my son had over his friend, yet another Zach.

It’s an understatement to say that conversation quickly became difficult.

April began calling her brother “Brother Zach,” as if he had recently taken religious orders.

We’ve used the nickname “Dognapper” for my son’s friend forever, due to his constant teasing when we first met him that he was going to steal away our little dogs. So that brought us down to two people who only answer to Zach, which was still too many.

Neither Zach my son nor Zach my daughter’s boyfriend had any interest in adopting any of the nicknames shouted out for their consideration, such as “Big Z” and “Little Z.” One is older and one is taller, so there was disagreement over who should get to be “Big Z.”

In consequence, “Boyfriend” has become a proper name. “Is Boyfriend coming with you this weekend?” I might ask my daughter.

When my son was born, I remember my obstetrician saying there had been “a run on Zacharys lately.” Indeed, my son usually shared the name with at least one or two other Zachs in every class.

Now that it’s too late, I realize I should have been far more creative with my children’s names.

While I don’t necessarily favor names that, to me, sound made up, I have to admit that if I had named my son Korgan we likely would not have had three Korgans sitting around my dining room table at once.

Weird names don’t necessarily consign one to non-professional jobs. Think Condoleezza Rice, a name so weird despite its recent prevalence in the national press that when I just fixed a misspelling of it, I had to look it up. Her parents could have just named her Connie, but then she might just have been one of several less-memorably-named White House appointees.

Should my daughter eventually marry Boyfriend, this will become a permanent problem plaguing us every holiday, unless one of the Zachs is willing to budge and adopt a nickname for the greater good.

Perhaps I can talk my son into becoming a monk after all.

Michelle Teheux may be reached at mteheux@pekintimes.com.