* * * If you want to read the post that leads up to this one, read here first
“What?” I asked my wife. I still wasn’t sure if I had heard her correctly.
“Yes!” my wife said, her eyes gleaming like the eyes of Dr. Frankenstein when the monster sat up. “You name the baby and don’t tell me until it comes out. I don’t want to know anything. No hints, no questions. Totally your call.”
This felt like a trap.
“Yeah, right! What if you hate the name?”
“I won’t hate the name! I promise. I’ll love it because you’ll have put a lot of thought into it and it will be the right name for this child.”
“Oh man, I don’t know.”
Somehow, and for some uknown reason, I agreed to this crazy experiment. She told all of our friends, and they would stare, eyes open, as if she had told them she was joining a convent, or that she believed in Santa Claus. The guys would pat me on the back, shaking their heads in amazement that I had taken this on.
“So do you have any ideas?” they would ask sympathetically.
I just sighed, and my mouth took that scribbled up-and-down shape of Charlie Brown’s mouth when he was confused.
The pressure was on.
Many times during the following months I poured through baby name books, making a list for boys and girls, cross-referenced with possible middle names. Don’t forget to check the meanings. Don’t forget to check if the potential initials spell something unfortunate. As the process progressed, I would have my doubts.
“Are you sure you want me to do this?” I would ask her.
“I’m positive,” she would say, and I could tell she meant it. She didn’t want to have any part in it, and she was beginning to like the idea of the surprise.
“What if it’s a boy and I name him Ebenezer?”
“Adorable! We’ll call him Ben.”
“What if it’s a girl and I name her Cleopatra?”
“You had a dog named Cleopatra,” she said. “You wouldn’t do that.”
True, I thought.
“But doesn’t that worry you? I named a dog Cleopatra. That should worry you.”
She just smiled.
“No hints,” she said. “I want it to be a surprise.”
So we came down to the final weeks. The final days. I thought I had the names nailed down. I was ready.
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