My name is Michael. Last time the government checked, there were 4,310,599 others. My comrades and I rank just outside the Top 3 most popular male names in the US, forfeiting to the sorry likes James’, Johns, and Roberts. I’m not common, I’m pandemic. In 4th grade social studies, the four Michaels in my class represented 25% of the rosters entirety. If I went to the University of Michigan I would’ve joined their coveted “Guys Named Mike Club,” where I would have been member #43. I work with a publicly traded company that greets visitors with hard facts about the firm’s performance like the stock ticker value and the number of global locations. Beneath the quantity of clients they represent, highlights the number of Mikes that hold a desk in the NYC locale (17). At Disney Land, there is always a mug with my name on it and more often than not, my last initial must be included in roll call for specification. My name is Michael and I am one of many. I wish it were more original. I wish it was Chicago.
The Kardashian-Wests took their standard knee-jerk reaction upon announcing their babies name on her 4th day of life and received the myopic opinion they encounter even when the most trivial of “news” is released from Calabasis. After North and Saint, media outlets far and wide sharpened their pencils and awaited to hear the name that they’d rendered it into a tabloid winner. Per usual, they had a field day. Every now and then, a child is born to an A-List couple that will forever walk with a one of a kind label and the public scorns them with animus. In a “normal” household, children aren’t named after British Columbian flora varieties, amino acids, or severe weather conditions. Originally, this article was going to ask How Rich Do You Need to be to Name Your Kid, Kyd (David Duckovnys 1st born) but that thesis was quickly trashed. Bucking the norm in the baby department isn’t just found in the entertainment industry, they are just the folks that get press coverage for standard-procedure child birth. The masses are adopting these unconventional monikers so it’s not Hollywood being all Hollywood, as much as it is creatives, being, creative.
If I weren’t Michael, I’d be Joshua (#22). Clearly, my parent’s tastes lie within the traditional scope of boy names, and for the most part, the commonality of being a Michael has been inconsequential. Perhaps I was shanked when drawing names from a hat and added confusion in busy crowds, but being 1 in 4M has been negligible. In any game of chance though, we opt to be in a smaller pool, like Chicago and her 1,633 peers. Baby Chi will never be mistaken for another, and in a world that fights tooth and nail for originality and uniqueness, it’s a substantial advantage.
Of course, any West prodigy is already a needle in the proverbial haystack, but being born outside the minutia would help even the bourgeoisie. There is no shot in hell I’ll ever gain enough notoriety to be known as just Michael. There is too much competition. The field is too saturated. The name is too basic. I’ll never be an Oprah. A Regis. A Drake, an Adele, or a Bono. For a guy like me, actively pursuing a household name via household branding, the commonality forces a pen name and a guise to give those aforementioned media outlets some tabloid material. Pretty Wild was adopted to add some flavor, as I was born with near none. In the realms of clutter, marketability must either be given, or created.
Chicago is a great name in its novelty and quite frankly, in its utility as well. It’s sure as hell better than Michael. Even in the progressive age we are all living in, change is still the boogeyman and scares people more than Michael Meyers with a machete (another Michael). Parents, consider any name of substance to you, even if it shakes our fragile status quo…you certainly don’t need to be on billboards to earn this right. Hollywood has already shed any weight they place on the petty opinions that form from the masses. From the Michaels. The 7lb 6oz newborn already has a better chance at making it than I do. She can walk with a mononym. I can’t.