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Dear parents thinking of naming their kids José,

Please don’t.[1]

Do you really want to subject them to the “No Way, José” line over and over throughout their childhood and likely into late adulthood? Do you really want them to wake up for two weeks with friends linking to The Prompt articles about “No Way, José?”

I don’t think so.

This advice comes from experience. When I was a kid, I used to torment my sister by playing the board game Sorry. My defense is twofold. First, I am a younger brother. Tormenting my older sibling was my God-given right. Like tax cuts for the wealthy. Second, her name rhymed with the titular word. And that was funny to me. “Sorry, Arie!” But that was the only glee I could get from her name.

You can do better.

As a parent, I know you take pride in subjecting your child to torture over their name. But José does not go far enough.

Instead, build their character by naming them after random things that nobody thinks of as names. For example:

A precious stone. Examples are everywhere, but one people overlook is Giada which means “Jade” in Italian… like Giada DeLaurentiis’s daughter’s name, Jade. Weird.)

A cardinal direction. Who doesn’t envy the Kardashian brilliance of North West? You’re right. It was Kanye. Only he is that clairvoyant.

The city where they were conceived. Their name will always remind them of how much you loved that place, Yeah, right. It’ll make them think of their parents fucking. Who wore it best? Ashlee Simpson’s son, Bronx Mowgli? Posh and Beck’s first offspring, Brooklyn Beckham? Or Paris Hilton?

A color + a plant. Beyoncé and her less-important husband may have started this trend with Blue Ivy, but you should jump on this bandwagon before it gets too full. Go with Grey Oak. It sounds wise and strong. And maybe a little Native American. Is being white and exploitative bad yet? Na, Trump’s our president. We’re still good!

The formal salutation of a knight. Shouldn’t every kid start their lives being saluted? Why feel the need to join the military to get respect. Just give them a strong name. Sir Carter. And you’ll be as clever as our Queen B. If you have a girl, though, maybe go with “Mum.” Everything sounds better when it’s British…

A field of study that doesn’t actually exist. I don’t know why everyone rags on Audio Science. Great name. But don’t steal it. It’s too good. One in a million. Go with Psychohistory. Isaac Asmiov is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice. Everyone’s gonna be talking about him soon. So get in front of it.

A posthumous recognition granted to people who are “close to God” or something. Or what you call that nice man in church who probably molests kids. What? You don’t think Kanye is brilliant and original? STILL? Man, did Saint West prove you wrong.

The forbidden fruit. You remember when you grew up and there were like no apple choices? Just Red or Green? Please. Now we got Pink Ladies, Honeycrisp, Jazz, Gala, Cripps Pink. Add your kid to the list.

How you always imagined Kid Rock would spell his name if he were a millennial. Maybe Kyd Duchovny didn’t inspire you. Sure, David Duchovny is annoying. But what’s more kid than Kyd? What’s more punk than P’nk? C’mon people! Rage against the M’chyne!!

Superman’s real alien first name. It sounds like a cop out. Naming your kid after some fictional savior. Stupid, I know. But people have been naming their kids after Jesus for over two millennia! I know what you’re thinking. “Comics are for dorks (AND FOR THE LAST TIME THE PICTURE BIBLE IS NOT A COMIC, IT’S A GRAPHIC NOVEL!).” That’s a lot of pent up anger and rage. You might need to get some therapy. Afterwards, come back to us and believe in Kal-El. Nicolas “Our True Lord and Savior” Cage made me a believer after he announced the birth of Kal-El Cage. Please go forth. Make your Kal-El.

Of course, it’s always your prerogative to shun your parental duty and name your children something boring, like Jonathan or Nicole, thus sealing their destiny as just another boring person, unmemorable at parties, fully reliant on the personality you couldn’t help but give them.[2]

But please, lay off names that can easily be rhymed into a colloquialism. Like José. Or Arie.

Sorry, Arie! I didn’t mean to make this about you. Just couldn’t help myself…

[1] This article presumes that you’re thinking of naming your kid “José” like the Spanish say it “Ho-say” and not “José” like the Portuguese say it “Joe-say”. If the latter, please proceed. All the best Josés I know are Portuguese.

[2] Random side story that is still relevant. My wife went to her favorite coffee shop the other day. “What is your name again,” a barista she sees all the time asked her. “You look so familiar, but I can’t remember…” My wife gave her name. “Right,” the barista said, “I always seem to remember the really unique or difficult names.” You see, boring names are so hard to remember!

Thomas Viehe

Thomas Viehe prefers pop over soda, loo over toilet, fall over autumn. He lives with his wife and dog in a remote part of the country, Washington, D.C.

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