Brand building through storytelling

What to call the baby: name or nickname?

Peanut One MonthThe last time I wrote about our new grandson, born less than two months ago, his parents were still pondering the question of his name. They briefly settled on Gabriel—a fine choice, I thought. Gabriel Jones. Now, that has a ring to it. I found myself picturing Gabriel wrapped in his blanket. Wondering aloud what Gabriel was doing at this very moment. Submitting to a stab of irrational swine flu hysteria. We had to protect our Gabriel!

Except he was no longer Gabriel. His parents had changed their minds, and now he was Cameron. Another good name, I said to my husband. Sturdy, forthright. Cameron Jones. Cameron suggests an earth-bound resiliency that the ethereal Gabriel had lacked. Besides, our grandson looks like a Cameron, don’t you agree?

Once again I was a few beats behind his parents. They call him Peanut, as they’ve been doing ever since they first learned that he (or she; they believe in surprises) would soon be transforming their lives. So of course I now call him Peanut as well. Otherwise his mom might think, as she admits to doing at least once, “Cameron? Who’s that?”

I have mixed feelings about Peanut (the name, not our grandson). You see, I can’t help but associate Peanut with “Found a Peanut,” the triumphantly annoying ditty so beloved by kids of my era. Like that other childhood anthem, “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” “Found a Peanut” has a sing-song tune (borrowed from “My Darling Clementine”) and circular lyrics that made it never-ending. You ate a rotten peanut, were whisked to the hospital where heroic measures couldn’t save your life, toured heaven and hell, then were reborn to eat another lethal peanut. Believe it or not, this song was actually written by an adult in 1958 and subsequently embellished by children—or so Wikipedia claims.

How long has it been since kids chanted “Found a Peanut?” Decades? Today kids know peanut allergies can kill. But in the 50s it passed for inspired subversion. Sing it long enough and loud enough on a family road trip, and your parents would be moved to exclaim, “Hey! Anyone want to pull over for ice cream?”

As for our own precious Peanut, he’ll be Cameron soon enough. And he’ll find his own secrets of inspired subversion. Because, let’s face it, irritating grownups now and then is every kid’s time-honoured right.


Posted by Rona

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