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I don’t generally give advice on this blog.

Because I don’t generally know what I’m talking about.

But having spent the last seven months trying to come up with a name for our child, I feel it’s my duty to share what little I’ve learned. There are two basic rules, and they both concern things you shouldn’t do:

1. Do not work in public education. As a teacher, you will have (literally) hundreds upon hundreds of students. And although most teachers like to think that “every student is an opportunity,” the truth is that “every student is a opportunity . . . to ruin a perfectly good name for your baby.” I’m not kidding. You will be sitting in bed, watching Colbert, and you’ll say to your lovely wife, “How about Max?” And your wife will say, “No, I had a Max once and he kept drawing penises on the blackboard.” And then your wife will say, “What about Lindsay?” And you’ll say, “No, I had a Lindsay once and she couldn’t write.”

2. Do not under any circumstances give your pets human names. I swear to Jesus, the last seven months would’ve have been a breeze had I not used every first name I ever liked on the 1 dog, 9 cats, 6 gerbils, 2 guinea pigs, and 5 neon tetras I had as a child. If this means you have to name your dog Spot, then do it. If you’re lucky, Spot will get along fine with Whiskers, your cat. And Fluffy, your rabbit. Will friends think you were born from a Norman Rockwell painting? Maybe. But it’s a small price to pay.

COMING TOMORROW: the name we chose for a girl.

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