Heater, Mother of Lance

Alpha Bits

Over the weekend we had dinner with some friends whose 6-yr old daughter was lamenting the fact that because her last name begins with an “S” she is always put at the back of the alphabetical line in her class at school. And she had several suggestions as to how to remedy her situation, among them switching her last name and her first name so that she could go by Stuart Carrie. When I pointed out that Stuart sounds like a boy’s name she shrugged and said she was totally okay with that, as long as she got to be at the front of the line. I wish I had my priorities as straight.

When I was in grade school the alphabetical arrangement of kids in my class wasn’t that big of a deal, primarily because I was an “H” and was always situated toward the front of the line which was perfectly fine by me. I never really wanted to be the first person in line because the first person in line was a walking target, a human shield, the first to get shot or struck with an arrow. If anything bad was going to happen it would happen to the first person in line, and the first person in line was usually Adam Armstrong who definitely had cooties and deserved to die.

But my last name is now Armstrong, which means my kids will always be put at the very front of alphabetical arrangements, especially if we decide to name them alliteratively which I’m totally itching to do. I myself was named alliteratively because my father always wanted to be able to step outside on a warm summer night and holler through cupped hands, “Come hither Heather Hamilton.” I just like the ring of Asparagus Armstrong, but that name might get my child killed.

  • the husband

    2003/02/17 at 8:16 am

    I was thinking more along the lines of Asswipe Armstrong.

  • antisocial diva

    2003/02/17 at 8:18 am

    my mother was going to name me myrtle which would have aged me 65 years automatically. regarding last names, i am an “f” and was always, always after toby fagan (a wrestler hottie) and brett fauver (an asshole who hated me in high school because his best friend dated me yet had the balls to ask me out after college) except for 12th grade english when i was behind jolee farah (a total ditz but i loved her hair) who didn’t know how to pronounce “hyperbole.”

  • SB

    2003/02/17 at 8:26 am

    When naming kids, you need to think in terms of your everyday usage (“Gus – time for dinner”), what you’ll say during those more trying times (“Asparagus Armadillo Armstrong, get your butt in here and explain why your little brother is duct-taped to the kitchen table!”), and what their peers will call them (“Hey, Ass…”)

  • leandra

    2003/02/17 at 8:28 am

    I think it’s awful that I wasted time lamenting about being an “S” as a kid, but now I’m a “G” and I still can’t find my damn paycheck in the monthly stack on the first try.

  • david

    2003/02/17 at 8:33 am

    my last name starts with an M – and i decided that i absolutely love the boys’ name ‘miles’ [after miles davis] – and the middle name ‘atticus’ [after to kill a mockingbird] – miles atticus miller.

    but to name a boy alliteratively, go with atticus. such a cool old name. however, i believe that plain names will soon be the new cool. millions of jasons, alans and bills will rise again – once the current crop of peculiarly-named maximilians, aidans and evans begin waning in poopularity…

  • Kyle Flood

    2003/02/17 at 8:40 am

    This is an issue my wife and I are having to deal with (naming a kid, that is…). For a boy we both love the name Noah, but with a last name like Flood that might be too cruel.

  • Wayne

    2003/02/17 at 8:43 am

    My last name starts with “W.” Plus, as a kid, I was tall and geeky (okay, not just as a kid…).

    Guess how much time I spent in the back?

    The “Come hither Heather Hamilton” comment reminds me of the old Steve Martin bit:
    “My mother named my sister and me HoyHoyHoyHoy and Pbpbpbpbpbpb….We had to move a lot.”

  • Cros

    2003/02/17 at 8:43 am

    You can kill two birds with one stone — meaning the desire for alliteration AND the necessity for snappy porn star names in the future — if you go with Long Dong Armstrong.

  • r3

    2003/02/17 at 8:43 am

    My first, middle and last name all begin with r — and I’ve always though this was totally cool.
    When you name your kids, give them 3 a’s.

    To antisocial diva–my mother’s middle name was Myrtle–and she hated it. One of the worst names ever devised.

  • the mighty jimbo

    2003/02/17 at 8:47 am

    heh, i just wrote about this kinda thing myself.

    at least armstrong is a nice pleasant last name -the perils from the front of the line not withstanding. could have been blessed with the name hurlbutt or buttram or wilphart.

  • john

    2003/02/17 at 8:48 am

    I really wanted to name our first-born Cooper but we chickened out thinking about the tormenting he would recieve being called “Pooper” in his formative years.

    Connor is nice but Cooper would have been cooler.

    Since then I’ve run into a couple of celebs (well, run into mentions of them anyway) who have named a child Cooper, but I suppose being a star’s child gives you the upper hand to the taunters…

  • zchamu

    2003/02/17 at 8:52 am

    I went to school in an area that had had a massive amount of Scottish immigration in the 1800s. Most kids’ names started with M, and likely Mac or Mc. So in your average class, there would be 5 kids who were “Adams” or “Bailey” or “Evans”, then 20 kids who were “MacAndrews”, “MacCartney,” “MacDoogle”, “MacFitzHerbert”, etc. So as an Mc, I came after all those damn Macs, and was usually about the fourth last in line. I longed to change my name, too – to anything that didn’t start with M. Friggin immigrants.

  • EC

    2003/02/17 at 9:05 am

    You also have to be careful that what you name him/her doesn’t rhyme with something else unsavory. I mean, who would name their child Brodey? Imagine all of the teasing that kid will get–Grody Brodey, grody, Brodey. They obviously didn’t think that through. My husband wouldn’t even let me think of naming my child Lorenzo, Mario or Ivan (in Spanished pronounced Yvonne). Reading the comments, I am reminded of that commercial where the the guy keeps calling the man “Dumb-ass” and the guy finally tells him it’s pronounced “Doo-maas.”

  • blue

    2003/02/17 at 9:06 am

    If my partner and I were to combine our last names, we’d come up with either “Vanwaki” or possibly “Makwyck”. In highschool I already had sniggering friends calling me Vanwaki, which leads me to believe that our children might suffer…

  • Prudey McPruderson

    2003/02/17 at 9:06 am

    speaking of porn names… okay, just speaking of porn, ron jeremy was here two weeks ago doing stand-up comedy and neither my wife nor i knew who he was. none of our friends will hang out with us now. apparently, we’re a disappointment to all porn watching couples out there

  • Donna

    2003/02/17 at 9:08 am

    Being at the front of the line means you get first pick at the buffet table.

  • sourbob

    2003/02/17 at 9:09 am

    Re: Asswipe Armstrong

    Ever see the Ivan Brunetti cartoon where one parent of a newborn cheerfully says to the other: “Let’s name him ‘Faggot'”?

  • lee

    2003/02/17 at 9:10 am

    That makes me think of a friend of mine whose father is a gynecologist. He named all of his children with the initials T.S.S. How fucked up is that?

  • Katherine

    2003/02/17 at 9:11 am

    I can complete relate to this topic. As a member of the Arthurs clan, I was always placed at the front of the line, and worse front of the class. First seat, first row…except in high school if Jim Arthur (no ‘s’ on his name) was in my class then I had true joy of first row, second seat. I love Jim for this reason…he was a good guy to take the bullet for me.

  • JSN

    2003/02/17 at 9:18 am

    Having the little twerps in grade school taunt you in some rhymy way using your name isn’t going to scar anyone for life. I think a good, unusual name helps in the fight to grow up interesting. My brother always threatens to name his firstborn Theopolis Girdis, be it male or female. I’m all for it.

    Armstrong is a good name. You can really go for the power names with that! Just look at LANCE Armstrong, and his fortuitously named son LUKE Armstrong. How can the boy go wrong?

  • cyn

    2003/02/17 at 9:25 am

    When I was in school my last name started Ab. I was guaranteed to always be first. The only good thing was I usually got to sit right up front by the door…

  • shy

    2003/02/17 at 9:31 am

    i was always near the end. buggers. the only time i was in the front was when we were lined up for our class photo. this was arranged by height. i was always the shortest. and therefore, picked on relentlessly. and i was also always, therefore, sitting in front row for the photo. i really hated being in the front row. of course, i also hated being the shortest in class.

  • ME

    2003/02/17 at 9:56 am

    You should name the child Asshole Armstrong (pronounced A-Show-Lay). Tell everyoen it’s French or something

  • rosebaby

    2003/02/17 at 9:57 am

    because it’s always about the dog… it’s interesting at the dog park to yell “Buck, off!”

  • Hank

    2003/02/17 at 10:02 am

    I think Carrie is doomed to fall in love with a guy named Greg Zoozle.

  • PJ

    2003/02/17 at 10:03 am

    Growing up with a fairly ethnic name that was constantly being mispronounced, I thought when I got married all that would be over, changing to one of the most common names in the country (OK, it’s Johnson). Within months, I had idiots asking me “How do you spell that?”
    When I was expecting, I liked ‘Leah’ for a girl’s name. “Over my dead body”, said my husband. “I’m not having anyone say about MY daughter: Let’s go LAY-A Johnson.” Point taken. It was a boy anyway.
    To The Husband: That brings to mind an old SNL sketch where the poor man has to remind them that it is pronounced ” oz-WEEP-ay.”

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/17 at 10:07 am

    My parents thought it would be cool to name me such that my initials would spell a word. I was HARK for twenty years. Then I became HARP. (I’m kinda regretting that decision. Fucking cheating husband.)

  • Mb.

    2003/02/17 at 10:18 am

    My last name’s Balara, so I was always the second kid in line, which was great – when Adam Armstrong gets hit by an arrow, I’ve always got first dibs on his stuff.

  • Shane

    2003/02/17 at 10:32 am

    I used to have a Stretch Armstrong when I was a kid.

  • Renee

    2003/02/17 at 10:46 am

    My dad wanted to go with the alliteration, mom said “hell no”. If dad had his way, my destiny would have been decided by his naming me and I’d be a porn star. That and my initals would be NMN. I hear the taunts already.

  • PJ again

    2003/02/17 at 10:55 am

    How about ‘Avril’? I understand it means ‘April’ in French.

  • nifflet

    2003/02/17 at 11:11 am

    the obvious choice..

    Alabama Armstrong.

  • the husband

    2003/02/17 at 11:17 am

    PJ, you are correct on the SNL reference. And that poor person was Nicolas Cage.

  • the watergirl

    2003/02/17 at 11:28 am

    i’m an “m” and i’m a firm believer in moving up the alphabet ladder, not down. “m” is all right, though. you’re never first, but you’re also never last. the mediocrity of the middle for me!

    but i used to date an armstrong. and as i plan to name my first son “aidan” (it’s coming out of me, i get to name it!), that would have worked nice, or at least, i thought so. well, i mean, i wasn’t thinking about having kids with him, i just thought that it’d sound okay. crap. i dug myself into a hole. okay, i WAS thinking about what our kids would look like. sue me.

  • the joker

    2003/02/17 at 11:29 am

    im damn partial to bootylicious armstrong.

  • kate

    2003/02/17 at 11:54 am

    Legsweak Armstrong.

  • Lex Alexander

    2003/02/17 at 12:32 pm

    Being an A rules. In grade school I always used to get annoyed if there was an Abnernathy or Adams ahead of me in class. And in high school, I usually got to sit next to the door, so I’d be able to get out in a hurry. Which had its advantages.

  • April

    2003/02/17 at 12:46 pm

    The one drawback to naming your kid alliteratively when your last name is Armstrong is that when your kid grows up and calls together a bunch of people, they might call that an AA meeting.

    For Heather #2, my initials spell A GEM, but it was purely by accident as my mother didn’t really think it through.

  • allisonic

    2003/02/17 at 1:10 pm

    if it’s a BOY: Anderson
    if it’s a GIRL: Allison, of course.

  • Brandon

    2003/02/17 at 1:32 pm

    I never imagined that I would be taunted. After all what could possibly rhyme with Merritt that’s taunt worthy. Alas, Ferrit and Parrot were taught early on in grade school. But to be honest how bad is Ferrit Merritt? Total mobster name if you ask me. So I guess the point to my little segue’ is that no matter what you name your kids, some punk will figure out a way to make fun of it.

  • shotwise

    2003/02/17 at 1:47 pm

    Anna Banana Armstrong, and yes, Banana’s her middle name, not a nickname.

  • The Other Erika

    2003/02/17 at 2:14 pm

    1. I live in Encino the Jewish capital of the world.

    2.My last name is Godfrey so I’m always asked if it’s Gottfried & if I’m related to Gilbert.

  • peggy

    2003/02/17 at 2:17 pm

    Acme Armstrong. Nobody messes with a kid named Acme.

  • hen

    2003/02/17 at 2:32 pm

    I have an easily rhymable name, I got a lot of “heather mary weather,” “feather,” Also got the last name involved, “sorry Norrie”, or “dont worry Norrie” those ones were always yelled out rather than said.

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/17 at 2:41 pm

    I fucking finally get it! You sly little dogs, you! You’re scamming for kids’ names!

    (You can thank me later for starting what’s soon to be one of the biggest internet rumors in blog history.)

  • The Inmate

    2003/02/17 at 2:44 pm

    I say you do themes.


    Amy and Andy Armstrong


    Artichoke and Avocado Armstrong

    Sea Vegetable:

    Alaria and Algae Armstrong


    Apple and Apricot Armstrong


    Armistice and Assasination Armstrong


    Anastacia and Alexander Armstrong


    Alliteration and Anagram Armstrong


    Axis and Angle Armstrong


    Annulene and Amphoteric Armstrong


    Angstrom and Avogradro Armstrong

    New Age:

    Aura and Apparition Armstrong

    Internet Age:

    ARPA and ADSL Armstrong

    Web Geek:

    ASP and ActiveX Armstrong

    Native American:

    Apache and Arapahoe Armstrong

    The list goes on and on…..

  • MJ

    2003/02/17 at 2:51 pm

    Inmate: That’s great! Laughed my ass off. Got any suggestions for Juliano. It’s Italian and I don’t want my kid to sound like a mobster(Guido, Mario, Rocco, Jimmy “the kid” etc.)
    And I agree with Heather #2, I think you two are fishing for names….
    Is there something you aren’t sharing?

  • Jane

    2003/02/17 at 3:42 pm

    Artichoke Artemis Armstrong, duh! I also like Aidan and Aislynn, but you can’t have them because those are my future kids’ name. I am only 19, but you are never too young to have a 20 year plan.

    I am kidding about the 20 year plan. Hardly know what I am doing in the next week, let alone 20 years.

  • jimmypage

    2003/02/17 at 3:55 pm

    (three intersecting circles) armstrong.

    or simply:

    jesus christ armstrong.

  • Summer

    2003/02/17 at 3:55 pm

    As the “mommy” of one fluffy little pooch named Boo Radley I have to second the motion on Atticus Armstrong.

    Other ideas for boys or girls:

    not Aeneus though.. definately not Aeneus.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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