Endless Stories of Bad Names

Apologies for the light blogging this week, but it’s the first week back, you know? My calendar is positively blue with appointments, etc. It’s been great, but a shock to the system after a year of precious little socializing.

The other thing that’s weird is that, over the past year, I had maybe three time-specific commitments a week. We’ve been very busy, but most days I could choose what I wanted to do when. Alas, no more.

Anyhow, being busy and lame, I’m going to cheat and highlight an old blog post that lives on in comments. It’s a short little thing called “Worst Baby Names Ever”, but it’s accrued 30,000 visitors and 130 comments since I wrote it three years ago. People seem to love coming by to complain about their own name, or mock other people’s.

The most recent comment made me laugh:

Ok I’m dating a man named Richard Panek. (Dick Panek) And if we get married my name will be Kayla Mae Panek.

Given my last name, I shouldn’t throw stones. But that’s a classic.


  1. Did you see the NYTimes article, A Boy Named Sue?

    Gist: kids with bad names don’t make out so well in the spin cycle of life. They end up in prison and with all sorts of other social afflictions, like unpopularity.

    I think it likely significant that the writer is J. Marion Tierney. Wonder what the J. stands for.

  2. I’ve always wondered the origin of your name. I mean it’s not that common. Were your parents fans of Bewitched, ‘Darren’?

    But seriously, I am curious about your last name. Does it have native origins?

  3. Gregg: Nope, no native origins. Though I do think that, in my youth, I got a couple of job interviews because employers thought they could diversify their workforce based on my resume. Then this big white dude walks into the interview, and they’d look a little crestfallen.

    My ancestry is British, Irish and Scottish, and before that it’s Nordic. Think ‘Barfut’, back in the day.

  4. I did a play once in high school. The (beautiful) assistant director’s last name was Topham. One of the cast had a crush in her, his last name was Lyzon. He realised that if they married and hyphonated, he would be Mr. Lyzon-Topham. You might have to say it to get it.

  5. @James … if you go to the article, skip to the penultimate para and then read to the end, you’ll see the answer and the background.

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