What’s in a Name? Guts.

It was the night before my baby shower and all through the house every baby was named except the one in my belly.  My sister-in-law arrived with an agenda, having heard a rumor that we were undecided in our task. She’d had twins a few years before, so she has street credibility in the baby naming department. She’s also a media specialist at an elementary school, so if anybody knows how other kids will tease and torture you because of your name, it’s her.

There was a scientific approach to baby naming, she said.  It goes like this. We make lists. Everyone gets a veto. No one can go to bed until we decide. Here was our first round:

The name Piper miraculously appeared on each list!  Perhaps it was the subversive suggestions from my father. There were other contenders, though, so we made pro/con lists for each finalist.

That “people could freak out” seemed a persuasive enough reason. I floated the name the next day at the baby shower. “We like the name Piper, but I’m not sure I have the guts to actually name her that. People could freak out.”

“True,” my friend Elizabeth said, “but if anybody has the guts, it’s you all.”

It felt like a double dog dare. I couldn’t possibly back down.

Before our final decision, we asked our friend Dash, who was named after the mystery writer Dashiel Hammett and knew all about growing up with an unusual name.

“It’s fine,” Dash said, “as long as she’s not a loser.”

“Did anyone ever give you a hard time?”I asked.

“No. Probably because I’m not a dork.”

So Piper became a Piper and it fits just fine.