A Boy Named Kilobyte-Floppy Webzine VAX Epoch Time Zero Phenomenon

Creative Commons image by Alex Luskin (adapted).

One of the occupational hazards of writing a lot of fiction is that I frequently pore over baby name books, visit the Social Security Administration names pages, and, yes, even cruise parenting sites looking for interesting things to call my unfortunate characters — thinks like “Spunky Bremer,” “Mookie Diaz,” “Trixie Pugnatowski” and “Van Fish.”

As a result I have developed an overriding fascination with colorful names. If you’re a character in one of my stories, you can figure you’re pretty much fucked. You’ll probably get a name so stupendously annoying that you’ll spend half the story complaining about it, and the rest of the story bitching about whatever annoying nickname your fellow characters have affixed to you.

However, fictional characters have one thing that lays them open to the cruelest impulses of naming conventions: they don’t exist.

Babies, much to my recurrent chagrin, exist, and if you call them something bad enough they grow up pissed off. (They may grow up pissed off anyway, but that’s another story). Luckily, Babynology is here to help, with a series of truly fascinating observations on what not to name your fresh howling baldie. Here’s a truly choice one, called “Technology-driven Names Fade With Technology.” Take notes:

While it is a good idea to show your preference for the latest technologies by investing in the hottest laptop or LCD display, taking this passion too far may not be in your baby’s interest. Naming your baby “Megabyte” or “Bloggy” does sound cute, but what will happen when megabytes are replaced by pedabyte thumb drives or blogs are known merely as chronicles of the past? There are millions of other rational choices which you can and should consider.

…Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand personally, if I had a kid and named it “Megabyte Bloggy Roche,” my chief concern would not be “What happens when everybody’s downloading tweets directly to their brainstem from satellite relays and weighing the problems of their 30-zettabyte files in their 9-yottapixel phonecams.” It would be “What happens when the kid turns three, can’t stand it anymore, and murders me with a hatchet?” Keeping the hatchets under lock and key seems sort of like reinventing the wheel; not naming my kid Megabyte would probably be the first step.

Trendy and iconoclastic names are one thing, but if you’re worried about your kid’s name becoming technologically outdated, you’re probably at risk of a hatchet-murder. Be warned.

Also, “Bloggy” or “Megabyte” doesn’t sound cute. And it’s “petabyte,” by the way — not “pedabyte,” which might be confused with “pedobyte,” and we aren’t going there.

Just remember the wisdom of Shel Silverstein’s song “A Boy Named Sue,” made famous by Johnny Cash, in which the son stands earless aiming a gun at his father, who says:

“Now you just fought one hell of a fight
And I know you hate me, and you got the right
To kill me now, and I wouldn’t blame you if you do.
But ya ought to thank me, before I die,
For the gravel in ya guts and the spit in ya eye
Cause I’m the son-of-a-bitch that named you ‘Sue.'”

Whether or not you support extreme bodily trauma between father and son as a way to toughen boys up, don’t name your child Megabyte.

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2 comments on “A Boy Named Kilobyte-Floppy Webzine VAX Epoch Time Zero Phenomenon
  1. What if you use already out of date technology as the name? Difference Engine Texas Instruments Roche has a quality about it. A presidential quality.

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