Ask Athena: Whatchamacallhim

Unoriginal uncle needs an attitude adjustment.

Q: My brother’s girlfriend named their baby something stupid – I won’t say what it is but it’s pretentious and awkwardly spelled and I can’t bring myself to call him it. I can barely pronounce it, literally. Is it wrong to not ever say his name? Do you think a kid would even notice?   — Uncle Joe, Blue Bell Hill

A: Are you kidding me? Yes you have to say your nephew’s name! Not just for him, but for your brother and his girlfriend, who no doubt named him with love.

And here’s another point: they probably named him together, as well. No fair singling her out in this decision. Even if the name was her idea, your brother is obviously OK with it. And now you need to be, too.

You’re not wrong to have an opinion! Just keep it to yourself. This is not your business. It’s not even an issue, really, unless you make it one. So don’t. Your nephew is a beautiful, innocent baby. Focus on that. Embrace his name. Say it out loud to yourself, work into conversations about your family.

Look it up – maybe there’s an interesting backstory or famous person with the same name or some other reason you can connect with it? Maybe you’ll discover cultural perspectives that can enrich your understanding. While you’re online, watch that video on how to pronounce the name of Elon Musk’s daughter, X Æ A-Xii, and consider how things can always be worse. Good luck!  — A

JUST FOR FUN: Celebrity Baby Names
Artists and innovators tend to choose unique names for their offspring. Here are some of the most original monikers in recent history, along with the famous parent(s) who bestowed it.

Kal-El (Nicholas Cage)
Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee)
Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jillette)
Bear Blaze (Kate Winslet)
Exton (Robert Downey, Jr)
Fuschia (Sting)
Banjo (Rachel Griffiths)
Maple (Jason Bateman)
Denim (Toni Braxton)
Kyd (David Duchovny and Tea Leoni)
Speck Wildhorse (John Mellencamp)
Slash Electric (Amber Rose)
Mirabella Bunny (Brian Adams)
Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson)
Fifi Trixiebelle (Bob Geldof)
Cosmo (Scarlett Johansson & Colin Jost)

Agree or Disagree? Please comment below.
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Read last month’s Ask Athena here.

About Athena 44 Articles
When she’s not advising mortals, Athena spends her time on earth in NW Philly with her husband, two sons and a day job where she’s paid to tell important people what to do (naturally). Send your questions to

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