How much is a name worth?


In the grand scheme of things, I have to admit that "Bruce" isn't a bad name. Although there were some unfortunate "Bruce the Moose" and "Goosey Brucie" moments in the schoolyard when I was a little kid, I feel like I got off relatively unscathed. Besides, even in my worst moments, I could take comfort in the fact that my father, Bruce W. Watson Sr., had managed to survive having the name for several decades.

Still, I can commiserate with the future "Dixon and Willoughby Partin." This as-yet-unborn infant will undoubtedly suffer a truly extraordinary amount of ribbing when it comes time for him to begin school. On the first day of class every year, as the teacher calls out the roll, she'll come to Dixon and Willoughby Parton and stare at the poor, blushing kid sitting in the third row as he tells her to call him "Bud."

At recess, the other kids will gather around and ask him how he got his bizarre moniker. Was he named for one of his dad's war buddies? Could his name have come from his grandfathers or a pair of uncles who died in driving accidents? Maybe he's named after an exotic handgun, the Dixon and Willoughby nine millimeter...

And poor Dixon and Willoughby, if he's an honest kid, will have to admit that his name came from a contest. He'll tell his classmates how his father called in to an Orlando radio program and offered to let the on-air personalities name his unborn child in return for a $100 gas card. The deejays, Dixon and Willoughby, recognizing a good deal, agreed, and the rest is history.

While this certainly beats turning tricks for gas, it's more than a little disturbing. Among the many questions that it raises, one will probably keep me up into the early hours, tossing and turning:

What rhymes with "Dixon and Willoughby"?

Bruce the Moose is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. "Nixon and Billowy"? "Vixen and Pillowmeat"? "Blitzen and...