Sunday, May 21, 2006

His Fastball Is Mighty and Will Not Be Denied
You may have noticed the news stories this past week about the growing popularity of "Nevaeh" as a first name. I did. Over the years, I have collected odd names. It's easier now than it used to be. Some of the names parents hang on kids today seem so strange, and sometimes so flatly cruel, that you can't help but notice them. I am thinking here of the parents wanted to name their son "Tim," but for whom "Tim" was simply too pedestrian, so they named him "Tymme," or the parents who created future strippers by naming their daughters "Wytnee" or "Lynzi." (Until I write something based on my bad-names archive, Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing will have to do if you want more.)

I was collecting athlete names first, however. It started way back in the 60s and 70s, with names like Pedro Borbon and Cepheus Witherspoon. But despite my experience with odd names, nothing prepared me for the latest one I found: Boof Bonser. Boof is a pitcher who will make his major-league debut for the Minnesota Twins today against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In defense of his parents, Boof's name is self-inflicted. His parents named him "John Paul." ("John Paul Bonser" isn't a bad rock-star name, actually--a chainsaw lead guitarist in a heavy-metal band, maybe.) Somebody nicknamed him "Boof" at some point, and he legally changed his name to "Boof" a few years ago. The people at I Dislike Your Favorite Team brought some grade-A snark about Boof on Friday, and I laughed along with them. But that was before I realized this name has magical powers. When you speak the name "Boof Bonser" aloud, something happens. You have to smile. Endorphins are released. I am convinced that merely speaking the name "Boof Bonser" aloud can reduce stress and will improve your attitude. All the trouble in the world seems mitigated by the fact that there's a guy named "Boof" walking around and sharing it with us. Perhaps, if spoken often enough, "Boof Bonser" could change your life.

Try it.

Later today: Items and comments from the non-Boof (Boof-free? sans Boof? Boofless?) pages of the sports section.

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