Baby Names for Dummies

Raymond Chen

While waiting in the check-out line at the local grocery store, I saw a book titled Baby Names For Dummies and amused myself for wondering what its goal was.

  1. Maybe it was a book for dumb people who don’t understand what baby names are.

    “You see, babies, like many things, have names. It is considered polite to remember the name of a baby when you are introduced. Baby names are often very similar to names for adults. For most people, their adult name is the same as or very similar to their baby name.”

  2. Maybe it was a book for dumb parents, looking for a name for their child.

    “You just had a baby, huh? And the hospital gave you this form asking you to give it a name. What’s up with that? This book will help you fill out that form.” (Though, personally, I think it would be better if the book went something like this: “Are you a dummy? Thinking of having children? Don’t do it.”)

  3. Maybe it was a book for giving names to dumb babies.

    “So you have a dumb baby and you have to give it a name. If it’s a boy, you might want to consider Cletus.” (My apologies to fine people named Cletus.)

Bonus chatter: One of my colleagues proposed a fourth interpretation: Maybe you are a store employee who dresses mannequins and you want help coming up with cute names for them. (On a related note, you might be ventriloquist who is starting an act with a dummy that is a baby.)


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