originally published October 11, 2013

There once was a thought for a game:

To write about laws about names.

And just for a gimmick,

To write it in lim’rick

Though some will turn out rather lame.

It’s been quite a while since I tried

A full kilograph longer than wide.

I could do so much worse

Than a column of verse

Though I’ll come off as mocking and snide.

But why not indulge in a caper?

I fear my strong output might taper.

You’d best read up soon, you’re

Expecting a junior,

And with it a blank birthing paper.

Some countries will let you go nuts,

And name your kid “Boner” or “Putz”.

But check out the law

Or get smacked in the jaw

When the government kicks both your butts.

In Denmark they’ll humbly insist

That your baby’s name’s on their big list;

With just seven grand

That the Danes understand;

If you pick something else they’ll be pissed.

In China they’re not quite as picky,

Though one tiny point remains sticky:

The name must go through their

Official computer,

And sometimes that feat can be tricky.

But with so many characters out there,

The Chinese have reason to doubt their

First choice when they bred

By PCs will be read,

So they’d best pick their names with devout care.

While the surname can come from the mother

If they feel that the dad’s is a bother,

You can use just one letter

If that will sound better,

They won’t make you pick out another.

There once was a girl named Ma Cheng,

Who grew up in noble Beijing;

Yet part of her name

Looked exactly the same

As three horses – just look at this thing:

A man named Zhao C went to court,

For his name he was told to abort.

The ‘C’ is a Latin –

They cannot write that in

The characters Chinese. Too short.

In Germany names can’t be neutral;

The gender-slant mustn’t be mutual.

A frau is a frau,

And so help you if thou

Try to name your kid ‘Pepsi’ or ‘Google’.

A trademark or brand name’s a no-no,

Though they’ll prob’ly allow you ‘Hans Solo’;

You submit with a fee

And a ‘no’ isn’t free;

And dear god, please don’t name him ‘Herr YOLO’.

In Hungary, just like the Danes,

There’s a list that you must entertain.

If you want something new

There’s no way it goes through,

Which to me appears somewhat mundane.

While in Iceland (in case you have wondered),

Their list has about eighteen-hundred;

They’ll allow ‘Bil’ or ‘Bjork’,

But they won’t allow ‘Mork’;

Which to me is a policy blundered.

The Italians don’t lay it on thick;

They just hate the obscene or the sick.

It’s a simple adherence,

For Italy’s parents,

To try not to name like a dick.

And really, why be such a fool?

Why name your kid something so cruel?

It’s just common sense

On behalf of the ‘rents

Not to name their kids Hitler or Zuul.

In Japan names like ‘Warren’ or ‘Angie’

Only work if they’re written in kanji;

That’s Japanese script

(Though they’re rather tight-lipped

As to why you can’t name him ‘Comanche’).

There’s a list once again in this nation;

Though they seek to expand its notation.

Yet some kanji proposed

You may wish to oppose,

Such as ‘poop’, ‘corpse’, ‘curse’ and ‘fornication’.

In New Zealand it seems to be fact

That their laws are a touch more laid-back;

Though in 1-9-9-5

For all Kiwis alive,

They enforced a few rules in an Act.

To divert any pranks on the map,

Names too long or too silly they’ll slap;

They officially sank

Names which also mean rank,

So you’d best forget ‘Major’ or ‘Cap’.

While in Stockholm they think they’re so smartsy,

Where some parents, they yearn to be artsy;

If you need to digress

That the name should ‘express’,

Then the law will rip your dreams apartsy.

Twenty years ago there was a scene

Among Swedes who were caught in between

Where the law said “no way”

And their hearts said, “What? Hey!

We just want to name our kid Brfxxcxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116!”

(pronounced ‘Al-been’. Seriously.)

“It’s expressionist!” so said the folks;

And I know, you may think it’s a joke.

They were told “Stow your belts

And select something else.”

So they thought they’d give ‘A’ a poke.

(‘A’ in this case is also to be pronounced ‘Al-been’. I swear, I’m not making this up.)

If that’s strange (I said in italic… uh…)

A couple selected ‘Metallica’.

The Swedes couldn’t pass –

There’s already a lass

With that name; mom and dad were smart alecs… uh.

If the Swedish law seems rather stingy,

It’s still best that our names don’t get dingy;

They were probably right

When they turned down the plight

To use ‘Allah’ – that name would be cringe-y.

Our celebs, yes it’s sometimes a fact

That the names they pick out are just whacked;

You may think that the best

Is the baby North West;

There are worse that I wish they’d retract.

Tracey Morgan chose ‘Maven’ – that’s swell!

Anna Paquin picked ‘Poppy’ – oh well.

You could scantly do worse

In the breadth of this verse

Than the junior Nic Cage: it’s ‘Kal-El’.

And while Reese may be blonde legally,

She still named her poor kid ‘Tennessee’;

If you think that’s no fun,

Name your kid for a gun;

Levi Johnston’s ‘Beretta’, you see?

Jason Bateman’s great show is a staple,

But he christened his poor daughter ‘Maple’;

Though it beats out ‘Moroccan’

(Mariah’s concoction),

He could have picked something more papal.

Michael Jackson’s hermano, Jermaine,

May have also gone somewhat insane;

So beyond just a travesty

To poor ‘Jermajesty’,

This really rattles my brain.

The law might have been a protector

For Jason Lee’s ‘Pilot Inspektor’;

Or Northern Exposure’s

Rob Morrow’s disclosure:

‘To Morrow’. A pun? More a specter.

No, it won’t do to lean on our laws

To exclude our creative faux-pas;

While our freedom’s robust,

There’s an inherent trust

That our parents won’t name without cause.

And it’s true – we can’t all be the same,

With such limited breadth in our names;

Though I ask you respect

He or she you protect,

It’s their future your quirkiness maims.

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