October 2, 1980: Names You Should be Glad You Do not Have!

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A Brief History

On October 2, 1980, Michael Myers was expelled from Congress; the first person to suffer that indignity since the Civil War.  Not to be confused with the murderous wacko from the Halloween movie series who is also named Michael Myers, Congressman Myers was a representative from Pennsylvania who had been caught taking a $50,000 bribe in what became known as the Abscam scandal in which the corruption of multiple U.S. politicians was exposed by the FBI.  Come to think of it, the movie character is probably embarrassed to be named Michael Myers!

Digging Deeper

Here at History and Headlines we have often discussed goofy names and name changes (see our articles from April 2 & April 23, May 3 &  May 4 and September 28, 2014) and now we are at it again; this time talking about names you should be glad your parents did not saddle you with and names you should not give your kids.

With girls, picking an unusual name is not too risky if you just name them after a color (e.g. Blue or Lavender), a day of the week (e.g. Tuesday), a month (e.g. April or May) or give them the name of a flower (with some exceptions, “Corpse Flower” being one of them).  What you might consider avoiding are names associated with strippers; unless of course you want your daughter to be a stripper, then go ahead and name her Bambi, Porsche or Lexus a.k.a. “Lexie.”

Boys are another story entirely, and they will not take care of you when you are old if you give them a name that results in them getting beaten up.  Names given to boys that sound like girls’ names such as Adrian, Francis, Evelyn, Beverly, Marion or Tracy might result in your son going through rough times in school.  On the other hand, if you want your son to grow up knowing how to fight because he had lots of practice, go ahead and lay one of those names on him.

Sometimes fate is just cruel, such as for Michael Myers whose parents had no idea the common name they chose for him would later be associated with a fictional serial killer.  Although this cannot always be avoided, if your last name is Dillinger, do not name your boy John, and if your last name is Capone, you would do well to not name him Alphonse.

When the author of this article was in school, one of his classmates was named Lyndon Johnson at the same time Lyndon Johnson became President of the United States.  You would think that name would have been rare enough.  Granted Johnson is a lot more common than Obama, but how many little Barack Obamas will soon be roaming our schools?  If you choose carefully, it may be alright to share a name with a famous person, as long as that person did not start the Holocaust or murder a bunch of nurses or a president.  Seriously though, how many “Adolfs” have you come across since the end of World War II?

If you would like for your children to later be recognizable by just their first name, you had better name them something distinctive.  If you hear “Thurgood,” you almost certainly will think of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court justice.  The name Elvis automatically evokes the image of the “King of Rock and Roll.”  Picking “Kobe” might have seemed risky at the time, but it later worked out pretty good for Mr. Bryant, and just say “Lebron,” and everyone knows that you are talking about “King James” of basketball.

Question for students (and subscribers): What names would you have hated to have been given?  Or, what interesting names did you give your kids?  Please share them with us in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Greene, Robert W.  The Sting Man: Inside Abscam.  Penguin Books, 2013.


About Author

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.