You’ve got a lot of rules for somebody from Binghamton.

No, not THOSE Rules. MY rules. I don’t mean like “Follow the Golden Rule,” (which I try to do). It’s more like, “When I get a new album, I must play it at least three times before I file it away” or “When I play racquetball, and the score gets into a rut, I must find arcane ways to recite the score” or “Almost any song can be done in chicken, the more bombastic, the better. Ode to Joy and Smoke on the Water are good examples.”

I knew I had rules, but until we got into naming Lydia, I don’t think that Carol was aware of my naming rules. *I* wasn’t aware of my naming rules. When you’ve never had a child, naming is more a conceptual thing, as it were.

So the rules were:

  • No name in the top 10 in the Social Security list of most popular names for the most recent year available. There will be enough Emmas in her kindergarten class (but Emma IS a lovely name).
  • No naming after any family member, living or dead. I want her to have her own identity. And I didn’t want, “Oh, you named her after Aunt Hortense!” We’ll call her Little Horty!” No, you won’t.
  • No unisex names: Terry, Madison, e.g. This comes directly from the fact that my father AND my sister were both named Leslie. Confusion ensued, and often at my expense. Since my father had a child named Leslie, it was ASSUMED it was his ONLY son, i.e., me. “Hey, little Les,” one guy from church constantly called me. “That’s NOT my name,” I’d mutter under my breath (but never aloud, for that would have been considered rude.)
  • It had to have two or more syllables, to balance off the shortness of Green.
  • No names that easily went to the nickname. Elizabeth is in the top 10 anyway, and which variation (Liz, Lizzie, Beth, Betty, Betsy, or several others) would ensued? No thanks.
  • It should have a recognizable spelling. While a few people have spelled her name as Lidia, most have opted for the more traditional option.
  • No names beginning and ending with A. This is a practical consideration. I have a niece named Alexandria. Carol has nieces named Adrianna and Alexa. One of Carol’s best friends has a daughter named Ariana. And there are several others. Having but one child, I didn’t want to run through a litany before I found hers.

    So, Lydia it was, named in part after a woman in Acts who was rich even to put up the apostle Paul and this cohorts. It was only later that a friend pointed out that the church I attended as a child, Trinity A.M.E. Zion, was on the corner of Lydia and Oak, and that I walked down Lydia Street every day on my way to school. Obviously, I knew this to be factually true, but never crossed my consciousness.

    The only downside to her name has been those streams of choruses from Marx Brothers’ fans of “Lydia the Tattooed Lady”, a song that had TOTALLY slipped my mind.

    So, even with RULES, tattoos happen. But so do encyclo-pidias.

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