The results are out and they are as we expected. Jack and Emily have topped the list as the most popular names in Ireland last year, as they have for the last decade.
Jack and Emily are lovely names. They have strong but sympathetic sounds, they flow nicely. We all have a lot of good people in our lives who are called Jack and Emily. The problem is that we are about to know a lot more good people called Jack and Emily.
It is estimated that in the year 2035 more than half of all the people entering the job market will be called Jack or Emily.
We also know that that for the 2039 Rugby World Cup all of the Irish team will be called Jack, even the Samoans. This will create major difficulties on the pitch for communication. Even accounting for the imagination of rugby nicknames — take the surname and add O or remove the last syllable and add S — it is still too much of a risk when complex plays are being called.
Everyone being called the same name is nothing new.
But then there were imaginative nicknames. For example if you patted your knee once in company or expressed an emotion other than “not too bad” you could be Mick the Knee or Johnny the Philosopher.
Now thankfully we have far more influences on our names. Celebrities push the envelope of names and we can all follow then. For example Kanye West named his first child North. At first I was worred about the direction he was taking. It seems though, that it was inspired by a gale that buffeted them when they came around the corner after they came out of the cinema on their honeymoon in Tullamore.
Americans with their habit of giving children surnames for Christian names also expanded the possibilities giving us Flynns, Codys, Ryans and Caseys. Hart to Hart and Dallas gave us Jennifers and Pamelas though no Sue-Ellens. She was never seen as baby material.
But now we are in danger of throwing baby names out with bath water as names have fallen by the wayside and there is a regression to the mean.
That is why I am calling upon grants for protected names to protect the skills of a future economy. We need names of handy people to be made more popular.
We need Deans, Waynes, Garys, Keiths, Barrys, Gers and Declans to be good men to give a shout about that on Monday and they’ll see what they can do but they’re fairly busy after the bank holiday and it might be Tuesday. But they promise they’ll get back to you and you know they will, not like That Other Langer who you never heard from again about the boiler.
We need a Donie or a Bernie to open up the hall on Tuesday week for the rehearsals for the local drama group production of The Vagina Monologues (It’s a new woman has the group now and they’re gone off in a different direction entirely.)
We need Paulas and Anns and Gers, (as in Geraldine) Philomenas and Carmels to go along because you can be sure they’ll go along to show a bit of support (or indeed to fix a boiler, give a push with the car or put down the tiles. ) And I’m blue in the face looking for more Colms. I can’t keep writing this shite on my own.
Colm O’Regan’s first novel ‘Ann Devine, Ready for Her Close Up’ is published on March 14