I AM NOT making this up: as I write this column, police in New York are searching for a couple who reportedly snatched their children from social workers.
The dad is called Nephra Payne and the kids, in order of age, are Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne, Nephra Payne and Nefertiti Payne. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I thought the same thing. What's the deal with Nefertiti? Why isn't she cursed with the same dumb name? Hey dad, not fair.
The New York Times report I read did not specify why the children had been removed from their parents, but I suspect the charge should be a "dangerous lack of imagination."
This whole naming-kids-after-yourself thing worries me, although I have come to expect it from low-life individuals, such as criminals, reality show participants and celebrities.
Boxer George Foreman couldn't bear the thought of not sharing in the glory of his name, so all five of his sons are called George Foreman. He has one girl called George and another called Georgetta.
And of course there's my former hero, Michael Jackson.
When he had a child and called him Michael Jackson, it was no surprise. But when he also named his second child Michael Jackson, it was a bit much -- I mean, the kid was a girl.
He named his third Prince Michael Jackson. If he'd continued to have kids, they would no doubt have been called King Michael Jackson, Emperor Michael Jackson, God Incarnate Michael Jackson, etc.
No ego there. Why is cursing your child with a silly name not a criminal act? The kids have no choice but to go by their nicknames. Imagine doing a PhD and being called Blanket.
But have you noticed, the villains in the "Junior Me" syndrome are all guys, and so are most of the victims?
There are millions of boys called Something Junior, but how many Kate Juniors have you met? Zero. Are there any Kate Juniors on the planet? Probably not. I think it's because dads are not into the whole baby thing until they learn they have produced a little boy who will carry on their genetic lineage.
Four Reasons Not to Call Him [Your Name] Junior:
1) It's a ridiculously egotistical move, like calling a person "Mini- Me."
2) To avoid confusion, people will have to call him Junior, which will sound dumb when he is ancient. “Junior will be with us in a minute; he is just putting in his false teeth and changing his adult diaper.”
3) When he grows up to become a serial killer the press will immediately trace you and identify you with him.
4) If he's junior, you become "senior," which everyone knows is a polite word for "drooling old fossil."
Actually, come to think of it, such dads punish themselves as much as anyone.
This is particularly true for people who name ALL their children after themselves. Think of the pain every time the phone rings in Nephra Payne's house and a voice asks: "Is Nephra there?"
(Ilustrations from: totallylookslike.com)