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What’s in a name?

When your name is Kuhl, it better be something cool

The big argument in our house tonight is what to name our future grandson if we have a grandson. No, there is no heir pending, but such a big decision can take years to decide.

Our daughter is getting married in May and her future husband’s last name is Kuhl. Therefore, I think it’s incumbent on them to name their son Joseph. Who wouldn’t want the name Joe Kuhl? Even Charlie Brown’s Snoopy would rather have been named Joe Cool.

Laura says that would subject her son to a lifetime of teasing. How could anyone make fun of someone named Joe Kuhl? When you’re named Joe Kuhl, you are the ultimate in coolness. It’s like being named Chuck Norris, James Bond or Arthur Fonzarelli.

They’re leaning toward Benjamin. That’s no good. Who wants to be Ben Kuhl? Might as well name him No longer Kuhl or Not Kuhl.

I suppose one could go with the contradiction and name him “Warm Kuhl.” But “Warm” is not a usual name. Incidentally, I had an ancestor named Usual Osborn. He once got in a fight and threw the other guy into a fire. That guy’s name was Chard. He was Chard in more ways than one.

I guess it doesn’t matter what the kid is named, it will still be a Kuhl name. You just have to make sure the name doesn’t make him uncool, like Ulysses Nathan. U.N. Kuhl is a name to be made fun of.

I’ve known a lot of people with poorly chosen names. Most of them can’t be printed here because of the dicey connotations of their names. Perhaps the worst was a guy I knew whose first and last names were both “Ashley.” It’s bad enough for a guy to grow up with a girl’s name, but Ashley Ashley? That’s gotta be rough.

Names are important. A good, solid name can benefit a person. Hard consonants like K and R are good as in Kenneth and Robert. Of course, in this day and age, there tends to be less emphasis on masculine-sounding names for boys. To each his own, I reckon.

Then there’s concern over nicknames. A lot of mothers insist on calling their children by their full first names, but that doesn’t stop kids on the playground from shortening the names into something silly or embarrassing. Of course, a kid can have a perfectly fine name and the other kids will still come up with something.

I would be fine if they wanted to name the child David, but I’ve been told that’s not happening. Apparently, thinking of me every time they gaze at their sweet bundle of joy would just kill the moment.

There’s plenty of time for them to decide. Maybe years. But one thing is clear: I don’t have a say in it, which doesn’t keep me from trying.

©Copyright 2013 by David Porter who can be reached at All rights reserved. And if it’s a girl? I think “Josephine” is in order.


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