It’s all in a name |

It’s all in a name

Jim Scripps

On Thursday, between the frantic copy editing of pages and swearing and excessive drinking of coffee that goes along with production of our Weekend Edition, I slipped out of the office to get the best piece of news I’ve had in awhile; I’m having a baby boy.

It’s not actually me who is having the baby boy, it is my wife Rachel. And it comes on the heels (or is it the head?) of the birth of our little girl Lauren, who, at the age of 13 months, captivates the world with her stunning four-tooth smile, pointy ears and constant poopy pants. She’s as pretty as they come, and even-tempered, but a boy will hopefully provide a balance to the hormones in our cramped house.

Rachel and I, working on the intuition that we were having another girl, had been tossing around girls’ names: Charlotte, Eva, Elizabeth, etc. And generally, as was the case with Lauren, we had yet to come to terms when the ultrasound technician at the women’s clinic tossed us this shocking piece of news … and she added, “There’s no doubt about it,” pointing out the grainy outline of our future son’s male-ness.

So the naming of the child becomes the new obsession, along with the acquisition of the items of blue and the dissemination of the worn-out items of pink that have adorned Lauren’s room, Lauren’s wardrobe, Lauren’s toys, our room, the kitchen, the bathrooms and even the garage. These items will be boxed up in short order, and future purchases made for Lauren will be in more androgynous hues so that we can afford to cloth our second child a year from now.

Back at the paper, my colleague Lauren (no relation to my daughter), suggested a baby-naming contest to help me and my wife in the process. While we have considered continuing the naming scheme that has been with the Scripps family for so long (two choices: James George (me), or Edward Willis (dad)), we are leaning toward a break in the cycle, not out of disrespect but for a desire to be original. And to be truly original, Lauren (work Lauren), says we should reach out to the community and ask the readers’ opinions. Sound reasonable.

Although I am not offering a prize (perhaps our circulation department can pony up a subscription), I’d like some ideas. Think of a baby who will be born at 6,200 feet, and will eventually become a hall-of-fame Alpine skier, or a doctor … or even a journalist (we can only have so much influence). Think of a boy who is proficient in math and science, but also seeks to know the deeper meaning in life, and can move well in coffee house circles. I’d like my son to do things better than me, so try to choose a musical name (“Bono” or “Ozzy” come to mind), but also a name that emotes power (like “Winston,” or “Lincoln”). I’d like the name to sound somewhat athletic (“Bode?”), but also humble (maybe “Daron”).

Some other guidelines may also help:

My proclivities go toward somewhat traditional names – like Jason, or Mike, or John or William. I’m not one for 1980s fraternity sounding names like “Tad,” “Ty,” “Chad” or “Chaz.”

Names that sound like last names are out. And so are names that could be first and last names, like Robert Roberts.

Although I love my Lake Tahoe home, “Sierra” is out (that’s more of a girl’s name anyway), as is “Tallac,” “Zephyr” or “Harvey.” I want my son to be able to roam freely in the world without people thinking they know where he’s from, so “Tucson” is also eliminated. So is “Sonora.”

And while I’m as much a fan of hip-hop as an approaching middle-ager can be, I want to stay away from rapper names, like “P-Diddy,” “Mike-D” and “Jammaster J.”

Hippie names are out too. No “Sunkist” or “Moonbeam.” And although he’s supposed to born in August, I don’t want to name him August, or any other month.

So if you are inclined to take a moment and share your perfect baby name, I would appreciate it. It’s the first most-important decision we’ll make for our boy’s future … following shortly thereafter by circumcision.

– Jim Scripps, managing editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, can be contacted at

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