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.

  • Summer

    2003/02/17 at 3:57 pm

    Oh yeah, I also agree on paying attention to your child’s initials. I have a relative named George Austin Gardner.

  • freshgroundpepper

    2003/02/17 at 4:24 pm

    I had a good friend in high school who’s first name was Don. Not all that remarkable until you find out that his brothers names were Ron, Jon, and Lon. They had too many sons and actually had to make up “Lon” to fit the naming scheme. Beware the naming scheme who’s full set of names doesn’t take into account the potential number of recipients.

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/17 at 4:36 pm

    Jimmypage: that’s freaking hilarious.

  • Nellen

    2003/02/17 at 4:43 pm

    Re: “A-Show-Lay”

    My roommate was a lifeguard for a sumer swim camp and since she lives in Ottawa they had a real mix of ethnic names to handle pronoucing. But she said the best by far was a little boy named “Sh-EH-th-eed” who had been blessed with the English spelling “Shithead”

    I think it might take a lot to outdo that, though Asswipe Armstrong is a noble effort.

  • daisy

    2003/02/17 at 4:44 pm

    I feel her pain. My maiden name began with an L and in grade school they always made 2 lines so I was at the end of the 1st line….now my last name is a W…I just can’t win.

  • Russell

    2003/02/17 at 4:49 pm

    The artistic mind has always craved alliteration. Tolkien, for example, thought Bilbo Baggins had a nice ring.

  • Jeffo

    2003/02/17 at 5:03 pm

    Agamemnon Armstrong. That is such an imposing name! Who wouldn’t want it?!

  • Big Dog

    2003/02/17 at 5:25 pm

    On the subject of initials Andrew Scott Smith.

  • XWG

    2003/02/17 at 6:09 pm

    Alfred Lipschnitz.z

  • Red

    2003/02/17 at 6:18 pm

    I worked with someone who easily had one of the most unfortunate names (which I would often have to page over the company PA system):
    Manny Dickoff
    (his wife insisted it wasy pronounce die-Koff)

    And, if you decide to consider something other than the alliterative naming scheme, how about Kneel?

  • The Inmate

    2003/02/17 at 7:23 pm

    To I have to do this:

    Please don’t do that.

  • Si

    2003/02/17 at 7:55 pm

    I was always at the very back of line, with the reliable double-punch of w and r in Wright. That is, until the last year of High School, when the spectacularly unlikely surname Wychawanko bumped me out of that last spot. WY? Hello!

  • Kayjay

    2003/02/17 at 9:02 pm

    You can’t spend too much time agonizing what kids will do to a name on the playground. Kids are inventive little beasts, and can make just abut anything dirty and/or insulting.

  • Kayjay again

    2003/02/17 at 9:06 pm

    I know a woman named “Teather”. I know a man whose last name is “Leather”.

    They really have to get married.

  • Xanthan

    2003/02/17 at 9:28 pm

    What, no one’s offered Allouicious yet? I do like Agamemnon, though. Just don’t choose Aline – my mother’s in her 70’s and still hasn’t forgiven her mother for that name.

    Now, if you do name a kid Asswipe, you have to note the fact that there’s not much other kids can do to make fun of it. I mean, those kids are gonna make fun of the parents!

  • French Frye

    2003/02/17 at 11:10 pm

    How about Alouette Armstrong.


  • Keith

    2003/02/17 at 11:14 pm

    Heather, you missed it. Fox 11 here in L.A. just ran a promo in which Jillian Barberie admitted she used to be a stripper.

  • sparkley

    2003/02/17 at 11:29 pm

    When it comes to alliteratively alphabetical arrangements etc. I got stuck with ALL the above! Shall I start – Silvia, last name ‘S’ as well….I can’t tell you how many pick up lines I’ve heard, “My grandmother’s name is Silvia” – Gee and that’s suppose to work??? AND Silvia/Saliva – oh that’s ever so catchy…then the dumb ass that figured it was fun to shorten it to ‘Spit’. So there I sat at the end of every line thought to be a 65 year old loogie. [sigh]

  • Heather #2

    2003/02/17 at 11:48 pm

    It takes a really special person to write all you write on an almost-daily basis. You are amazingly creative and wonderful and I love that you continue to put a piece of your soul out there for all of us to examine. It can’t be easy. But I wanted you to know that it’s appreciated. At least by some. (I’d like to think by the wise and aware.) I love you, you motherfucker!

    (whispers: P.S. I’m drunk.)

  • OliverJ

    2003/02/18 at 4:03 am

    Don’t discount the power of alphabetical seating. When I started High School, R. Plum sat behind me in every class of freshman year. 20 years later, we are still best friends

  • MelisAGoGo

    2003/02/18 at 4:20 am

    Imagine the horror of having a last name that was (many times) changed to end with ‘crotch’.

    A good friend once told me that you have to name your child something that you can yell and not sound stupid-such as when you are disciplining your child. It has to come off clean and not get your tongue tied up in knots.

    ps-Adam Allen had cooties too

  • HRH

    2003/02/18 at 4:43 am

    Oh the name game… I was moments away from being named Gwendolyn. Yikes.

    See my last name is Gay (go ahead, get the jokes out of your system… no really, keep going I’ve heard them all, some of them are really funny), which made growing up more than an adventure. I’ve largely come to terms with it, save the fact that my first name is Chelsea. Which was fine until I discovered that many of the Gay neighbourhoods in bigger cities tend to be named Chelsea.

    At present, I have several newsletters, non-profit organizations and at least one record label sharing my name. Which might explain all the phone calls I got as a teen from confused Gay men looking for emotional support.

    Needless to say, I’ve always been itching to get married to get rid of the name. While gay rights are an important thing, it’s not really MY issue per se.

    Fortunately my parents only had girls…

  • Jeanette

    2003/02/18 at 5:46 am

    My Mom too wanted to name me Heather so she could call out “Come hither Heather.” What kind of sick psychosis were our parents subjected to? Torture must have been involved.

  • Zach

    2003/02/18 at 7:13 am

    My girlfriend and I are trying to find names for our far-away-future kids. I keep coming up with COOL names like Runaway, Bartholemew, or Myriad. She shoots them down and comes up with names like Adam, or Chris, or Jacob. There must be a compromise.

  • Naaman

    2003/02/18 at 8:12 am

    Ho. Ly. Crap. I can’t believe other people are making a big deal out of this.

    My mother, ever since I can remember, has had this theory that your marriage will be fruitful if you “marry up” in the alphabet. In other words, if you’re towards the Z end and you marry closer to the A end, you’re marriage is going to be a good one. This is ENTIRELY BASED ON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SEATING CHARTS!!! I’ll never understand that woman.

    Anyway, if you talk to my mom, she’ll say you and Jon are going to have a long and happy marriage.

    P.S. She even rates my sister’s boyfriends based on this theory.

  • owen

    2003/02/18 at 9:26 am

    by my own investigations people who are closer to the front tend to get more free stuff before passing it along to the suckers behind them. even so they get to review the test papers ahead of time before the test actually begins.. As to if this helps your relationships with your pets I don’t know.
    but why should your children suffer you dammed fate? yet alone be born into a webblog? life forever tained by the habits of their forsaken parents who got tired of having regular sex?

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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