Thursday, 1 August 2013

When good names go bad

When good names go bad
1 August 2013

Now if I was a champion race horse breeder (which I'm obviously not), I'd have such fun naming my horses.  I'd give them all quirky, funny and unusual names. 

All with one express purpose.  To have a good giggle whilst listening to racing commentators during a race.

"And coming from the side is 'A-Horse', followed by 'Another-Horse'.  Right in the front is 'This-Horse' and round the outside is 'That-Horse'.  On the left is 'Nobody's-Horse' followed by 'Who's-Horse-Is-This'."  Can you just imagine how funny that would sound?

But then again, having given it some thought, the same naming ridicule rule could apply for most sports.  Just imagine calling F1 drivers and their cars, ‘A-Car’, ‘Followed-By-Another-Car', etc.

And as for those tennis players?  It could change the face and feel of Wimbledon completely.  'That-Player' just hit an ace.  Followed by 'The-Other-Player' attempting to return the volley.

In general I’ve often marvelled at the proficiency of commentators, when they do their thing.  Particularly if the sport they are commentating on is fast-paced.  With many different players partaking.  I suspect the Russian names are the worst to pronounce and remember.

Yet nothing compares with some of the funny names that are out there.  Sometimes parents are so delightfully “creative” when they name their kids.  And fun though this process might be for the parents, I suspect that their poor children pay dearly for these naming follies.

I love my name.  Firstly I’m named after one of my favourite people in the whole entire world, my Ouma Helene.  And there is a wonderful history attached to both my first and second name.  Secondly, my name is not overly common.  So there are not very many of us out there.  And there is a sense of being ever so slightly unique-ish. 

However, I have spent the entire forty years of my life, gently guiding people along, on how to spell and pronounce my name. 

And so, just to clarify.  My name is Helene.  Not Helen.  Not Heleen.  Not Helena.  Not Eileen.  Not Elaine.  Not Heléne.  Or Helène.  Nor Helené either.  Or the gazillion other variations thereof.

And as for pronouncing it?  Phonetically speaking, it is “He-lean” (as in skinny – I wish).

Still, perhaps I shouldn’t be complaining.  Just the other day, someone sent me a mail, containing some of the very best South African naming mishaps.  As captured in Identity Documents.  The most official of documents in all of South Africa.  Proclaiming your name for all to see.  This is the document you produce when you apply for a job, open an account, even take out a DVD for goodness sakes!  It is the proof of identity that you are you.  How funny!

I shall include a few of these pics. 

And so in conclusion, I think it is time for my alter my stance on my own name.  Please go ahead.  You can call me Helen.  Even Heleen.  Helena if you wish.  Eileen or Elaine.  Or knock yourself out and go for Heléne, Helène, or how about Helené?

And as for the pronunciation?  Whatever you choose.

Have at it.  I’m actually not overly fussed. 

Very many people, quite simply call me, “H”.  And I must admit to liking that a lot!

Compared to some of the naming gems I’ve come across, it’s actually mighty fine indeed.

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Clearly Sundaytimes Koerant's folks enjoyed the Sunday papers - how sweet!  Perhaps it has some significance to his conception?

Victor-Don't-Worry.  Be happy!

Right!  Michael Jackson is looking at the Man-In-The-Mirror and it's probably not the face he was expecting to see.
Clearly Killmequick Jefferey's parents did not have high hopes of him surviving his childhood.  Guess he's having the last laugh now.

Well receiving a Matric Exemption is clearly great cause for celebration.  And perhaps those circumstances led to the conception of Matric Examsion.  Though possibly, languages were not one of his parents' strong suits.

This I find too funny for words.  In fact, I have no words.  Simply because there is no need for any.  Thoko Promise's face says it all.  What a trooper!

Now I'm going out on a limb here, but I'm suspecting that Captain Morgan's mom and dad had a fondness for rum?

Poor Two-Rand.  How mortifying being named after the lowest monetary paper denomination (back in the day).  There would have been some saving of face if he had been named "Two-Hundred-Rand".  But no.  This was not to be.
This one leaves me truly stumped.  Perhaps Oral Sex's parents were confused as to the link between oral sex and pregnancy?  Maybe they should have considered calling him Coitus instead.  Just a thought.


  1. This is tooooo funny! Of course it reminds me of your friend G.H. (his name is only initials-weird I know) - who filled in his ID application G(only) and H(only) so hence Gonly Honly - CLEARLY! And I have to say, I'm not too fussed WHAT you call me, as long as you call! Good one, Lorraine! Tee hee!

  2. With a name like mine I have been called anything from Cecil to Kekile and then some random names thrown in: Elize and Celine are some of them! Does it bother me? Not one bit!

  3. Me too. I have had so many versions over the years. Used to really bug the hell out of me, but have given up now. Actually rather enjoy the confusion i can create on the phone. I have been called Gillian, Hillary, Mary, Jean Marie, Ellmarie etc etc etc. And of course many automatically think that the double barrel means the first part is name and second is surname. Since getting married i have a surname problem too now. Commonly Mrs Michelle. Ah well who really cares. Tried not to make the same mistake with kids, but Rosalind gets spelled and called all sorts too. At least i wasn't something like Donald McDonald (know one at school).

  4. Most amusing!!
    We are Nigels - doesnm't matter how we try to explain.
    But my worst now, is Tannie!!