Being 23 and in no mood for children anytime soon, I often laugh at the stress parents will go through to find suitable names for their newborn. Who would have thought that a baby name consultant could find work in these tough economic times?
Take a peek on Google and you’ll unravel an entire industry built around the science of baby naming.
Personally, I find it about as far fetched as the rapture that will be occurring at some point today. People have the capacity to believe in some truly unconventional shit. But does that make it false?
Are our names really projections of our identities?
You may be familiar with one of my favourite tales if you’ve ever read Superfreakonomics.
In the Harlem projects of 1958, the Lane family were awaiting the birth of their sixth child. The father, Robert Lane, had a gut feeling that his soon-to-be-born son was going to be special and extraordinary, a great achiever in life.
Like many parents, he decided to lend him a name that would be suitable for such a glorious future. And so Winner Lane was born.
Surely, if our names are in any way related to our destinies, having Winner on your birth certificate is a 10/10 perfect start.
It wasn’t long until Winner Lane had a younger brother on the way. The family prepared for their seventh and final child, but this time, Robert Lane had a distinctly pessimistic view on his next son’s fate.
So he did the unthinkable, the kind of practical joke that only a father growing weary of being woken in the night could snigger at. He confined his seventh child to the scrapheap of Channel 4′s 100 Worst Names for a Child, burdening him with a name that would give the poor kid’s enemies unlimited ammo for life.
Loser Lane was born.
I can only imagine the sibling rivalry that would rock the Lane family over the years. Christmas must have been a riot.
How could Loser Lane possibly succeed? His parents, who presumably never experienced a school playground, had planted the seeds of an identity that would follow him for the rest of his life.
It would be 50 years until Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow came along, nonchallantly naming a baby Apple, that such an act of birth certificate terrorism would ever be seen again.
As you’ve probably guessed, it turns out the destinies of Winner and Loser Lane were anything but set in stone.
Winner Lane would indeed go on to live an extraordinary life. An extraordinary life of crime and hatred.
Burglary, domestic violence and other serious wrongdoings littered his criminal record. Winner did everything in his power to self-destruct magnificently, all but burning his father’s projection of fame and sporting excellence.
Loser Lane, perhaps spurred by the handicap of being selected to fail, followed a remarkably different trajectory in life. He graduated from Lafayette College and rose through the New York Police Department to the rank of Sergeant. Respected and liked by his peers, he no longer associates with his troubled elder brother.
Did Robert Lane mistakenly apply the right gut instincts to the wrong children? There’d be no better evidence for the science of names than if Winner and Loser’s fates had been reversed.
We can speculate but we’ll never know for sure. Perhaps Winner Lane felt a sense of entitlement, while Loser Lane had only a burning desire to exceed expectations?
If we can learn anything from the Lane family, it’s that our projections for a baby’s future are nothing compared to an individual’s desire to create his own.
My advice? Don’t be a retard. Don’t call your baby Apple.
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