Metro 137

Richard Herring: Isn’t Red a good name for my baby?

Wednesday 22 Oct 2014

The reality that my wife is having a baby is very slowly starting to seep in. We’ve started buying baby things, looking at the bamboozling variety of prams on offer, reading books about what to expect, getting advice from other parents (mainly ‘don’t pay any attention to the books’) and thinking up possible names.
I am finding it hard to resist coming up with joke names for our innocent child. Which isn’t difficult giving the surname that the poor mite will be lumbered with. Clearly my parents thought it would be funny to essentially call me Dicky Fish (though with the nice additional joke of me very nearly being Pilchard Herring), so it’s only right that I carry on the tradition.
My wife is pretty smart though and as much as I want to lumber my child with a moniker that will have them roundly mocked throughout their schooldays, she is weirdly resistant. She saw that I was up to something fishy when I suggested Salman and even twigged that I was only keen on Mack because it was short for Mackerel. Could I trick her with John Dory Herring? Or Pomfret? Not a chance. Ideally I’d like to eschew all attempts at subterfuge and call my child Lungfish Herring. It’s good for a boy or a girl.
So if I was going to make my spawn (get it) a figure of fun then I would have go down a non-fish route. I tried to pretend that I had a Russian great-grandfather that I wanted to honour whose name was Hardov. Alas she was not so easily hoodwinked and immediately realised what that would sound like when read out aloud. Why is she so opposed to making our child into a laughing stock?
I wondered if I might pay tribute to my former double act partnership with Stewart Lee by choosing the name Leanne (or Liam or Leon) but apparently even that was unacceptable. I will have to content myself with forcing my child to become a comedian and make it team up with one of Stewart’s reluctant kids to form a next generation Lee and Herring, which will receive all the fame and accolades that we failed to achieve. It’s important, I think, to try and exorcise your own disappointments by living your life vicariously through your children.
My wife was obviously never going to let me get away with naming our first born Red, but I thought I might sneak it through if I came at it more obliquely and suggested Ruby or Scarlett. But she wasn’t having that either. She really liked my casual remark that if we had a boy we could call him Rufus, but then got suspicious, did some research and found out that the name means ‘red-haired’. Yet even so she quite liked it. It made the list! It’s subtle enough to be quite cool as well as authoritative.
I guess Rufus Herring might still get bullied if our baby is a girl. But my stupid name was character building for me and I want to pass that gift on down the generations.
In other news, the half marathon went well. Despite fierce competition from Me1, Me2 was chosen to run on the day and he didn’t let the selectors down. He completed the course in 1 hour 47 minutes and nine seconds, a full 50 minutes quicker than I had managed last year and eight minutes faster than my personal best from 2004. The Me vs Me sports training technique proves itself again. I might have to write a book about it.