A name matters. You know this because you either like or dislike yours. Naming a human being seems to be one of the larger tasks anyone is asked. For a long time, my wife and I thought that Jackson would make a good name for a boy. That’s the problem, we thought about it for too long. After a few years, Jackson became boring. So, when we found out we were having a boy at Week 19 of the pregnancy we started fresh.
I started saying things like, “I want a unique name that everyone knows how to spell. Like ‘Table’ but not ‘Table.'”
My wife said things like, “I like Andrew.”
Then it began, weeks of saying names out loud, feeling them out a few times, then telling your partner what you thought your son’s name should be for the rest of his life. Both of us practiced the “no” approach with names we didn’t like. “No” eliminated many conversations about wondering if this or that should be his name.
With the last name Bayer, I thought we had some potential for something.
Grey, Fozzie, Grizzly, Black, Theodore. The list doesn’t go on and on, but you get the idea.
I still like the name Grey Bayer. The only problem with it (besides my wife never allowing it) is that it has two well-known spellings — grey and gray. That’s a deal breaker. I also like two syllables.
So, where did we go? The name James came up and we didn’t hate it. I think my wife said it first, though I wouldn’t bet my life on it. Jame is a good fit for us because I’ve always liked/loved/respected my Uncle Jim, and I know Lisa has some James Bayer somewhere on her side of the family, so it falls under that category of “it’s a family name.” Have you ever noticed “it’s a family name” seems to forgive a lot of stupid names? Moving on … It became a game of “Can you beat that?” We’d say a name, ask if it was better than James and then cut it from the list of one.
Finally I started to get logical. I went through all of my favorite books, looking at the character names. Nothing.
I went through movies to see if anything would hit me. Red, Han and Marty just weren’t going to cut it. Tyler. I thought about that one for a while, but then I remembered a former roommate and I once hat a cat named Tyler, so that wouldn’t work. For the record, we have a dog named Austin (four years old, golden mix), a name I love based completely on the city I love. If we have a second son, I’ve told the wife we’re naming him Austin. She disagrees. If we move to the city one day, then yes, the deal is off. Otherwise, I think I can convince her. Stay tuned.
So, book and movie characters didn’t work. I moved to my iTunes library. It hit me obviously and quickly. I have more Bob Dylan in my library than any other musician. Dylan. Dylan. Dylan. I said it over and over to myself. That was it. I was convinced my wife would go for it. She did with little to no resistance.
James Dylan Bayer
Dylan James Bayer
That was the discussion.
The pros of James Dylan Bayer — We could call him JD if we felt like it. He could be Jimmy or James. He could use Dylan in the future if he wanted.
The pros of Dylan James Bayer — Slightly more uncommon than James. He could use James in the future if he wanted. He’d have a ‘y’ in his first and last name. I like it better.
Dylan James Bayer won.
Dylan (the reasons)
Dylan (the happy coincidences)
He has the same birthday (10-27) as Dylan Thomas, the poet. He’s the reason Bob Dylan changed his name from Robert Zimmerman.
My wife finished “Friday Night Lights” while pregnant. It was about the Dillon Panthers.
My friend Eric pointed out that each name has five letters (Dylan = 5, James = 5, Bayer = 5). I like this, but I have no reason why. It’s strong though, right?
With James, one of my favorite bands is James (they have the song “Laid”). People can call him JD (a name we like from “Scrubs”) but we dislike DJ (a job, not a name). We realize we’re in control here (for a while) so we can call him exactly what we want. I’ll be trying out Dyl (Dill) and seeing if I like it.
If people say “Oh, how do you spell it?” I will say, “The common way,” or “The right way” since “Dylan” and not “Dillon” or any other version is the accepted, most common name. Strike that, I will say “Why.” This answers their question (you spell Dylan with a “y”), but I’ll add a hint of a question mark, just to mess with people.
If your name is spelled differently than the common way, it’s up to you to let someone know. Just like if I spelled Jeff with a G, you know — Geoff. It would be up to me to let every person know how to spell it, as opposed to you asking me how to spell it.
This post feels a little rant-y. That’s probably because we’re on Day 9 or diaper rash. More to come on that.