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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

In The Name Of Fame

At the start of Kindergarten, my four-year old made a new best friend. I knew the kid and his parents in passing - we'd say hello on the street or at the park but now that the boys are school buddies, I've come to know a little more about them. Namely, their names. Well, the dad's name was new to me anyway. To my utter surprise, I found out that he was named after the King of Rock n' Roll.

Now, in a Quentin Tarentino movie it was fitting that the Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette characters would name their baby Elvis. It was a cute ending for a flick but I was curious how that panned out for the person named "Elvis" in real life. Well, according to dad-named-Elvis, the good thing is: no one ever forgets his name. The not-so-good thing: he's not a fan.

But I'm not one to talk. When I was preggers with Son #2, my husband and I searched for a Japanese name that was Westerner-friendly. The vote was unanimous and our baby menace was dubbed after a famous Japanese sculptor, Isamu Noguchi, whom I associate as the artist that slept with Frida Kahlo.

My own family had their objections. In Japan, Isamu is so outdated that my cousin e-mailed me, "it's a good thing you live in America."

Yeah, well - if I lived in Japan, I wouldn't have to worry about people being able to pronounce a Japanese name now, would I?

There's an unspoken burden to being named after a famous person. If for instance, we were psycho enough to name our son "Charles Manson" or "Adolf," I'm sure there'd be some credibility issues if he grew up to be a doctor or a baker. At least with "Isamu," there's only the pressure of making sure his girlfriends have memorable eyebrows.

Besides, I'm certain between my mother and the Air Head, Zuki there's no Western name that would've passed the test. The other day, Zuki announced the song he was humming was by Man Jackson.

Who the heck is Man Jackson?

"You know, he has those weird eyes - Daddy likes him."

"Zuki...that's Marilyn Manson."

And my mother, with her Paul Macatoni.

Who the heck is Paul Macatoni?

"He's in the Beatles!"

"That's McCartney. Paul Ma-CART-ney, ma."

She doesn't care. She's not a Beatles fan. Her love is for the King. That's why she was tickled pink when she found out Isamu's friend had a daddy named Elvis. She is the type of person, by the way, who expects a person named Elvis to look and sound like the King - obviously, she's unaware of the one with the last name Costello.


  1. Hahaha! How hard can it be finding a girlfriend with Frida Kahlo-ish eyebrows indeed! Your mom is truly fascinating! :)I know one of the real Elvis' grandson. In fact he's here in our office right now conducting a series of trainings and he can sing a decent song by his grandad too!

  2. When Dallas is asked his name he says, "Dallas- like the city." Lame. It could be worse though, his Dad's name is Waco.

    I'm not kidding!

  3. - Elvis' grandson, really? I guess I shouldn't be that naive.

    - He could change it up to "Dallas - as in done by Debbie" but you might not approve.

  4. That's fabulous - I'm now somewhat tempted to name my kid Elvis. Or out of nowhere just choose a traditional Japanese name. Just to keep people guessing.

  5. Why not, right? Either way, it would still be more appropriate than anything Brad Pitt or Gwenyth Paltrow came up with.

  6. You know, I went to primary school with a kid named Elvis. I bumped into his mother a couple of years ago and she said that he went out and legally changed it...The funny thing is, I don't remember what his mum said he changed it to.
    He will always be Elvis to me....Proving your theory to be correct !
    Paul Macatoni ! Love it ! :)

  7. Don’t feel too bad about the name you gave son #2.

    We had a similar issue with our son....his second cousin, also with the same first name as our son, is a convicted felon, has been to prison once, currently has an active arrest warrant (no joke!), and has a rap sheet that just about stretches across the entire state of Texas. My father was up in arms over it....

  8. -What's ironic about "formerly-known-as-Elvis" is he probably still tells people it was once his name.

    -Well, then your son will be known as "The Good Christopher."

  9. All the talk of Frida reminds me that I really should get my brows waxed soon.