Sometimes, when I'm yelling at Rollie from across the grocery store to stop right there and wait for me, or when I'm pleading with him to not crawl beneath the door of my dressing room and give the poor woman in the next stall a heart attack, I wonder if other people think his name is strange.
His name is actually Roland. I know, right? Roland? It was the eighth most common name of 1914, so I think it’s due for a resurgence in popularity. My husband picked it. I think he waited until just the right moment to bring it up…I was big and pregnant and annoyed, which pretty much sums up the entire last trimester. He approached me all nervous, like a schoolboy trying to slip a valentine into my paper bag before I turned around and caught him in the act.
Him: What do you think of Roland?
Him: Yeah, you know…like after my grandfather?
Me: Roland? Really? Don’t you think it’s kinda…old-fashioned?
Him: We wouldn’t call him Roland.
Me: Then why would we name him Roland?
Him: We’d call him Rollie.
Him (sensing a break in the storm clouds of pregnancy hormones): Rollie’s got character.
Me: I guess.
Him: I don’t know any Rollie’s, do you?
Him: Rollie Scott’s a great name.
Me (feeling my belly grow hard with those annoying-as-hell Braxton Hicks contractions, eyeing his icy-cold beer in envy and swallowing against a raging case of heartburn): Whatever.
So Rollie it was. Rollie rhymes with Ollie (our dog's name...I know, I know, how f-ing goofy is that? Why didn't we just name Elsa Molly or Holly while we were at it?). At some point in his life, someone will mispronounce his name and call him Roll-ie. As in Roly-Poly. Which means we're going to be in biiiig trouble if Rollie ever gets fat.
I still can't believe my husband wanted to name our first born son something that rhymes with so many words that can and will be used against him. Jolly Rollie. Rollie-Ollie-Oxen-Free. Rollie-Want-A-Cracker. One of the names I wanted was Charlie, and my husband had pointed out that people might call him Charlie Brown. Oh, the horrors! Not Charlie Brown! I guess it hadn't occurred to him that Rollie Tamale would be just as bad...especially if Rollie has really bad B.O.
Which brings us to Elsa. Again, my husband's choice. Again, broaching the subject while I was in my eighth month of pregnancy and as lethargic as a cat lying in the sunshine.
Jeff: How about Elsa for a girl's name?
Jeff: Sure. We could use your middle name, too. Elsa Abigail.
Me (at this point unable to care less what we name our daughter--all I can do is wish I still had a belly button and that I could wear something besides the same pair of belly-panel maternity jeans): Whatever.
Elsa is less rhym-able, although it is an anagram for SEAL, SALE and her initials are EAS. So let's hope that some jerk-off kid in school doesn't call her Easy Elsa or anything. When I was a kid, the worst name I got called was Beaky Becky, and I think that was from one of those Garbage Pail Kids (man, I loved those things.... it was a picture of a vulture picking at a carcass in the desert, isn't that hilarious?).
Maybe that's why names have gotten so...different...over the last few years. Maybe there are more and more people like Jeff out there, people who are paranoid that someone's going to tease their kid, call him Peter-Peter-Pumpkin-Eater, thus ruining Peter's life forever. Maybe, upon naming their children, people think, There! I'd like to see somone come up with a way to make fun of Braeson Xavier!
The worst the kid'll get is other kids saying: Hey Braeson...your dad's a paranoid freak!
And they'd be right.