Your Child’s Name And Personalized Pencils

We vainly search tchotchke stores never finding that coffee cup, bicycle license plate or damned pencils that you probably have!

We’re listening to the Phillies play Baltimore. Player changes in spring training games are fast and furious. One of the announcers mentioned, “Rhyan Hughes is in the game,” followed by a discussion of Rhyan’s unorthodox spelling.

“No personalized pencils,” Helaine said.

Of all life’s heartbreaks Helaine and I share or have shared, personalized pencils is right up there! You Bobs and Ricks and Dennises don’t understand the disappointment of young Helaines and Geoffs and Stefanies. We vainly search tchotchke stores never finding that coffee cup, bicycle license plate or damned pencils that you probably have!

Sure Jeff, Helen and Stephanie are represented, but those are not our names–though we’ve all gotten mail addressed that way. It was probably addressed at the personalized pencil factory!

I expect to turn on MSNBC one weekend and see some sorry soul locked up in the SHU at a nondescript Midwest prison. Describing his life of crime he’ll say: “It all started because I was the only kid in the neighborhood without a bike license.”

Here’s our advice for parents to be: Eschew cute names. Go with the common. Go with the mundane. They want their pencils.

9 thoughts on “Your Child’s Name And Personalized Pencils”

  1. Amen! I know exactly what you mean.

    But my son’s name is Lynn (he’s named after his grandfather). I can find all sorts of personalized tchotchkes with his name, but they are all in the girl’s section! We have much better luck finding things for his younger brother Sean.

  2. My niece Jillian has the same problem. Plenty of Jills and Gillians, none for her.

    And, uh erm… you don’t want to make Dennis (or Bob or Rick) possessive in that sentence, you want to make it plural.

    1. Good grief Bill! What was I thinking? Not only making that mistake, but then bringing it up prominently.

      I have corrected the entry, but will leave your comment for humilitiy’s sake.

  3. Well, with the first name of Rodney, I, too, was almost always disappointed when looking in those arrays of personalized items when I was a kid. However, this did not stop my wife Valerie and I from naming our daughter Genevieve — a name that is equally underrepresented in the preprinted knick-knack offerings. However, Genevieve seems to enjoy having an uncommon name and has yet to complain about it. Of course, we may have helped her appreciate her name because of the story we’ve told her about it (I’ll spare you the details, unless you really want to know), but suffice it to say, she knows her name is special and she’s quite happy with it.

    1. I sent an email to Rod asking him to tell the story of his daughter’s name. I should have asked how it’s pronounced as there was a ‘regular’ on the Jack Paar Tonight Show with that name and an unusual pronunciation.

  4. Thanks for asking for the story of how my daughter got her name.

    When I was in my really early 20s, I lived in Paris, France. I had a tiny studio apartment on the top floor of a building that was at an intersection with the Rue de la Montagne Sainte-Genevieve. At one point, as I was walking up the street from the local Metro station, I looked at the street sign and decided that if I ever had a daughter, I would name her Genevieve, I just thought the name was so lovely.

    Eighteen years later, when my wife’s ultrasound prompted us to expect a girl, I suggested the name. My wife agreed immediately; we didn’t even consider any alternatives.

    So, my daughter knows that she is so named because of a Parisian street sign that is in honor of the patron saint of Paris.

    As far as the pronunciation is concerned: we say her name in English, though she also knows the French pronunciation. We consider either correct.

    I just mentioned to Genevieve the whole personalized pencil entry in your blog, Geoff. She’s admitted that she’s also annoyed about never finding her name amongst the personalized retail items. However, when I asked her if she wished her name were different, she made it abundantly clear she loves her name. (Phew! For a split-second, I thought I was going to have to retract my previous comment to this blog entry.)

  5. Luckily you can order your own pencils now – there are plenty of companies that will imprint items for you. Even adults with unique names would appreciate them! It’s never too late…

    And I think Bill’s comment of possessive vs. plural applies to the rest of the names in that sentence, doesn’t it? (BTW – Anyone ever read “Eats, Shoots & Leaves?”)

  6. I’m another one who’s never had a personalized pencil. I’ll never forget the first time I ever saw anything pre-made with my name on it at a mall kiosk: a really cheesy keychain made out of jigsawed wood. I just about lost my mind. I spent my whole allowance on that keychain, and I still have it.

    Over the years, it’s gotten slightly easier to find stuff with my name on it, but it’s still far from common. My other half makes it a point to buy anything he comes across with my name on it, and he saves the tchotchkes he finds to put into my Xmas stocking every year. There’s usually at least one or two. It’s all totally useless crap, but I love it all just because it exists. 🙂

    (*waves hello to Rod* — worlds colliding, aieee!! 🙂

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