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Baby names get new direction

Features Column

T. Gamble

T. Gamble

As the Fourth of July is upon us, I recognize the great sacrifices made by our forefathers in establishing this greatest country on Earth. That is, of course, as opposed to all the great countries not on Earth.

We have many ways to remember these historic men, monuments like the cleverly named Washington Monument. We spent a ton of money and years to make it and spent about 30 seconds naming it.

We also put these men on the our coins and paper money, produce calendars with their images and every school kid knows their names by third grade, well, except for my former classmate Felix Johnson, who took third grade twice and, for good measure, took fourth grade twice, as well. I think he is now the regional head of the IRS.

There is no greater honor bestowed upon these men, however, than when we decide to name our children after them. You know, Thomas Jefferson Wilson and George Washington Jones. You can tell how successful a president was by the number of people 20 years after the guy left office who are now named after him.

There were a ton of Franklin Roosevelts and John Kennedys, not so many Herbert Hoovers. I’ve yet to meet a Millard Fillmore anywhere. But I’m afraid the trends are now changing, and naming kids after historical figures and presidents is near its end.

Yes, sadly, kids are now being named after weather directions.

I’m sure you, like me, were a nervous wreck waiting to find out when the child of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West would be born and, more importantly, what the child would be named. The wait is now over and after poring through all those baby name books, searching the Internet for the 500 most popular names and scouring old family names, the loving couple came up with ... North.

That’s right, North.

They named their female child North. She is now officially North West unless, and until, she marries Joe South, at which time she will then be North South. She could marry Clint Eastwood’s son, at which time she will become North Eastwood. Most problematic is if she marries John North, then her name will be North North.

It sure would have been easier for me when my two kids were born if I’d have known directions were a good choice for naming them. Listen, my family name is Wilbur. The only famous Wilburs are the pig in “Charlotte’s Web” and the talking horse from “Mr. Ed.”

I guess we do have Wilbur Wright, but most people just know him as one of the Wright brothers.

There have now been four consecutive Gamble Wilburs, only one of which, my father, has been brave enough to use the name Wilbur. My grandfather went by T, as do I. He was the original Mr. T and, as I recall, he often gave me grandfatherly advice by shouting, “Shut up, fool.”

Oh, those Hallmark moments.

The Hurricane goes by Wil, with one l, which ensures that every teacher he ever has will misspell it for half the year. I intend to write a book about my father titled “I, Wilbur.” It is sure to be an instant classic.

But just think. Had I known of the direction naming, my daughter might well be named South West Georgia Gamble. Or, if we get down to local directions, my son could be Turn Right Just Past Where Jim Ferguson Shot His Horse Gamble. Maybe we could spice it up by making them adjectives like North Westerly Gamble. The sky is literally the limit in weather-related naming.

It can’t be far away before someone names their kid Tornado Gamble. Wow, who knew I was on the cutting edge, as I already have a Hurricane?

Contact columnist T. Gamble at t@colliergamble.com.