A name is a mark of existence: past, present or future, real or imagined. People, places, things, non-things, every conceivable entity in this universe has a name. You may even say something is conceivable because it has a name. No wonder then that we try various things with such an important aspect of our lives.
We name a child – atleast in India – to somehow cause nominative determinism (Nominative determinism is where your name apparently determines what you become in your life). My own name, for instance, is Selvakumar. I was given this name by my parents in the hope that I would have all the wealth there is to be had (‘Selvam’ in tamil is wealth. All sorts of wealth: money, health, wisdom, etc. My parents are not sure if the name worked, especially when it comes to wisdom). If our parents were lax and have given us a pathetic name, we rename ourselves adding more letters or dropping some offending ones – not for better vocalization but purely to appease gods and stars.
A case of nominative determinism I noticed yesterday started me on this post. A large truck was parked on the road and the name of the owner was painted in large letters: Mr Tripp and Sons.
New Scientist has been running a series on its Feedback page on nominative determinism for long. The recent one was about a WHO doctor who advocates circumcision for adult men to reduce HIV prevalence. His name: Dr De Kock.