Friday, February 18, 2005

the name game

No brilliant insight here, but I realize that one of the crucial differences between first year and second year of residency is that first year consists of people telling you what they want done for your patients, leaving you with only the onus of carrying out the little tasks (often with the organizational aid of little checkboxes...many, many little checkboxes); whereas second year, you're starting to do a lot more of the planning of what you want done for your patients. You start to feel more ownership and responsibility for the people you're taking care of. It's not just a job where you clock in and clock out just when all your To Do list is complete. In some ways, when you take more responsibility, you start looking for more work, making more work for yourself, thinking, "Well, shouldn't we be doing this? Might we not consider this?" even if no one else is prompting you to do so. I guess what I'm really talking about is initiative and accountability. And it's clearly not an intern/senior resident thing at all, because there are some excellent interns who take tons of initiative and responsibility for their kids, and some really crappy seniors who take none. I guess it's just part of professional development, and slowly gaining confidence in your own clinical judgement so that you start to use it more and more. I definitely feel like less of an automaton this year than last. And I also think that if second-year me could sit down and have a conversation with intern-me, that second-year me would definitely start chiding intern-me to use my damn brain once in a while, not just my hands.

And now that I've just bored everyone with my crusty old windbag rant, I will bring everyone back to a special fuzzy place by talking about baby names. If you know me and Joe, I'm sure it's no surprise to you that we already have some top contender baby names all picked out. No, Cletus will not be named "Cletus" in post-fetal life. Nor are we going to make rhyming a prerequesite anymore, like "Sid the Kid." We're going to act like normal, mature adults and choose normal children's names.

I'm going to save the unveiling of the actual top-choice boy/girl names for a later date, partially because I still feel superstitious and jinx-y getting all specific (especially before the anatomy scan next week), but also because it'll be more fun and surprising that way. But what I will talk about is names that we considered and rejected.

(Please note that if you don't agree with our name rejection criteria, or if we rejected a name that's your name/your mom's name/your baby momma's name, there was nothing personal about it. Remember, we have no taste or class, so your name is therefore beautiful.)

I need not delve into my hatred for the Mykinzee/Kayleigh/Madysyn family of names that are not only ridiculously "trendy," but also misspelled. We decided early on that there would be no choosing of names that involved excessive explaination or clarification. Nice, simple, non-loserish names. How hard could that be?

My first choice for girls was Kate. Simple, elegant, everyone can spell it. Note I say "was." I decided to jettison Kate in the end mainly because of the preponderance of Kate-like names clogging up the works. To many Katherines, Kaitlyns, Katies running around. I didn't want our kid to have to tote around a last initial just to be distinguished from the hoarde. ("Kate W." as it were.) So no Kate.

Joe's first choice was a girl was Ada. Which I liked, because it was short, and also because of the literary reference that implies that we are smart and sometimes read things. But then he ruined it instantly by saying that we could make her middle name "Sandwich." Ada Sandwich. "Why not Ada Burger?" I suggested. Then we started saying Ada before every food. Ada Cheesesteak. Ada Watermelon. Ada Knish. Then we decided that we probably shouldn't name our kid Ada, because if she turned out to be fat, the teasing would never end.

For boys, Joe was a big fan of the name Ben. Not even Benjamin, just Ben. I liked Ben too (notice our prediliction for names four letter or less), but every time he said "Ben," all I could think of was "Gentle Ben," the bear that had the talk show in "The Simpsons." And then he ended up mauling that audience member. Also, for some reason, I always had the urge to preface the name with these strong-but-stupid qualifiers, like, "Big Dumb Ben." I don't know why, but that just rolled right off my tongue. "Big Dumb Ben." Sorry, Bens of the world, I know you're really smart. I'm just nuts. And while I wouldn't mind our kid being big (eventually, though hopefully not too big until after he makes it outside the old uterus), but I certainly would be less OK with our kid being dumb.

The boys name that was tied for the top of my list, and which I'm still not totally ready to let go, is Miles. Miles! Like Miles Davis. Like that kid that Gordon and Susan adopted on Sesame Street. Like Paul Giamatti's character in "Sideways". Miles! This is a good name. I think it's starting to get more trendy, especially in New York, but I still like it. But Joe, though he won't fully admit it, seems to think this name is for nerds. Jerkface. Well, actually, I've managed to warm him up to the name somewhat, but we're giving his parents a vote on what names they like, since my parents are getting to choose the kid's middle name (which will be Chinese). And Joe's parents voted for the other top-choice boys name on our list. Which I actually like equally as much as Miles, so it's cool and all that, but still...Miles. I'm having a hard time letting it go. Other pregnant people, don't name your kid that! I still want to use it! I have dibs!

Anyway, feel free to suggest names of your own that you like. And special points to anyone who can convince Joe's family that the name Miles is awesome.

Currently reading: "Digital Fortress." Guh, this book is reaching out of the realm of suspension of disbelief and into the realm of un-fucking-believable. Come on, Dan Brown. There are only so many twists and coincidences that the average reader can swallow. But I guess it serves me right for reading this sober on the subway, instead of drunk on a beach somewhere.

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