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Japan's newborn prince left the hospital today to begin life at home with mom and dad. In a ceremony steeped in tradition, the baby was named Hisahito. It means "virtuous, calm and everlasting."
The Japanese royals sure know how to pick 'em. And that got me to wondering about the American royals'"George and Barbara Bush'"and the naming of their four sons. Girl children are not factored into succession plans in this country either, so their daughter Dorothy is out of luck.
First son got the best name, presumably. George. Its origin is Greek and it means "farmer" or one who works the earth. Well that explains the brush clearing obsession. One variation of the name is Yorick. "Alas, poor George, I knew him, Horatio." Yorick is better.
Anyway, think King George III. St. George, the dragon guy. George Gobel. Georgie Porgie. George Mikan. George Raft. Boy George. George "macaca" Allen. Oh, all right'"George Washington. And the Beatles' George Harrison.
Second son was Jeb. Usually a diminutive for Jacob. But not this time. Bush Boy II is John Ellis Bush. See the Jeb thing in that? So. John. Its origin is Hebrew, and its various meanings include: the Lord is gracious, gift of God, and God is merciful. Also toilet and customer of a prostitute, but I digress.
Jan, Sean, Ivan are variations on this theme. Think Jeb the Terrible. And then think Johnnie Cash, John Madden, John Wayne, John Doe, John John the Piper's Son, and John Lennon.
Summary. George and John. I've got it! The next Bush son would be Ringo!
But no, next up was Neil (Irish/Gaelic, meaning champion), followed by Marvin (Welsh for sea friend'"go figure). Thus, that which had great promise Beatle-wise petered out.
Bush the Younger and I are roughly the same age. (Full disclosure: I'm 14.) When I was in school, life was hard for boys named George. The only ones who avoided the slings and arrows of snarky teenagers adopted nicknames like "Sarge" and "Mac." Tough names. You wouldn't mess with those guys. But the rest of the Georges? Torment fodder.
Here is my theory du jour. I think it's his name that has made Bush II the way he is. I think he developed that pissy smirk early on to protect himself from his peers in school. (I am making an assumption here that he actually attended school, and that his parents did not hire a proxy to stand in for him.) He wasn't big enough or smart enough to become a George like Foreman did. He had to defend his name with perpetual cuteness (wink wink). It has been a lifelong struggle for him.
Imagine, if you will, how different George's life, and therefore ours, might have been if George and Barbara had been able to access the tools we now have for naming our children. For example, there is a site called Babyzone that offers a look at "this year's coolest baby names and (you also) get a FREE fetal development profile!"
You know, the whole George and Tony thing is weak. How about retroactive naming? What if George had been named Brutus? Or Maximilian? Paul is a good, solid name. So is William (not Bill) and David (not Dave).
Here's another idea. George might want to consider indulging in his penchant for tinkering with the meaning of things (say, the Constitution and the Geneva Convention) to change the meaning of his name.
George. Son of George.
George. King of the jungle and all those other places, too.
George. God's right hand man and advisor.
George. Uniter of . . . the disuniteders.
George. Patron saint of Gitmo.
George. Meaning of this name is classified. You're busted.
All right. I'm done now. With apologies to the genuine Georges among us.
(The Twins won!)