Wednesday, June 18, 2008

it's a boy

Unmistakable proof of masculinity (an obvious protrusion from between little legs) revealed itself Monday when vfg (I wanted to write "the blooming purple petunia," but that seemed a bit much) went under the transducer probe.

So, a baby goat. A baby male goat. Cool.


As I've been working on names it strikes me as a pretty good idea to write them down. I'll likely regret this later, but for now this post is my worksheet.

For years we've been saying our boy name would be this:

Reuben Wilde Goates
[my maternal grandfather/Oscar Wilde/Surname]

This name is attractive for many reasons. Wilde Goates. I mean, that's poetry. There's also a nice symmetry, both with the 6-5-6 letter combination, but also the Wilde-with-an-'e' and Goates-with-an-'e' combination. We also really like the name Ben, but aren't super keen on Benjamin. We keep coming back to this as our first choice, though my wife has at times expressed reservations about "Wilde" (because she doesn't want a wild child, and because of moral reservations about his namesake).

Ralph Waldo Emerson Goates
[Emerson (of course)/Surname]

I've always sort of liked those names where someone is named completely after somebody else. Like George Washington Carver, the slightly more romantic George Washington Hayduke, or from my daughter's current favorite movie, Benjamin Franklin Gates. The trouble is thinking of someone you admire enough to give your kid that person's whole name. Ralph Waldo Emerson fits the bill as a personally deeply admired poet, philosopher, theologian, etc. A quintessential American thinker. More Mormon that most Mormons. And I think "Emerson" would be a great name. He'd go by Emerson.

Other full-name possibilities include Thomas Jefferson Goates or John Steinbeck Goates, but (really, no offense to anyone) Tom and John just aren't really doing it for me.

Utah Anders Goates
[a really cool place/a sort of family name (Anderson)/surname]

Louis L'Amour fans will recognize Utah as the name of one of his more Clint Eastwood style characters, Utah Blaine. No doubt in part from that influence, the name to me conjures up images of stone-hard masculinity. Adventurism. Toughness. Red-rock landscapes and snow-covered peaks. All that good stuff. But when I suggested it, Val blew a hole through my sail, "Utah's a girl's name." Is it? Has it become that? Sad...

I also like Anders. It's sort of my own invention. Well, it's obviously an old name, and I like Ander better than Anders, but if I said I was naming him after the Andersons in my wife's line, anyone who knows anything would know that the father of the son from which "Anderson" came was named Anders, not Ander. Plus, there's already a Zander in the family (a cousin), so that would get confusing.

Those are the most complete names I've come up with. Now for the rag-tag list of name possibilities that are somehow attractive that could get incorporated somehow, first, middle, something:


It's not a very long list.

I've been trying to come up with a couple names that are somehow bicycle related too. A name of a bicycle part, a race, a classic climb or something. But there's nothing too romantic in crank or spoke and I don't know what a Roubaix is (other than a place in France).

I'm also running through plant names, geological terms (mostly mountain-type stuff), places in Brazil I know, and cool Portuguese words, but I'm coming up empty. (I think one of the coolest Portuguese words is vergonha, but I can hardly name a kid that!)

One last thought. I remember when I was a senior in High School ('91) that I had decided to someday name my kid Eddie (or Edward) after the three great Eddies: Eddie Merckx, Eddie Van Halen, and Eddie the dog on American Flyers. (A few years later I would have added a forth Eddie, Eddie Vedder.) That no longer seems an attractive idea.

I welcome your thoughts.


Scott said...

Congratulations on the news. Have you considered Emerson Wilde Goates? Some historians will argue that you should replace Michaux with Lallement in your list of important bicycle history names.
If you like towns hosting historic races, there's always Fl├Ęche. But that may be too much.

Anonymous said...

This is a delightful list. I've always been a fan of the name Utah myself. Loving the entire list. Ahh...a Goates boy. Watch out world.

Sara Z

UtRider said...

Utah is also cool for its connection to one of the greatest movies of our teenage years: Point Break. Johnny Utah baby!

Hey, I don't know why you're not feeling Eddie/Eddy. I was actually thinking of that very name before I read your last paragraph.

Some other ideas (inspired by mountain bike locations/trails):

Bonneville Glenwild Goates or Clark National Goates are powerful names.

goat said...

Scott: Michaux is actually the name of the mountain/state forest just east of where we live now. I'm not sure who the dude was other than the obvious--a French explorer. (Isn't it interesting that the French were once great explorers? You wouldn't really think of that as a French personality trait today.)

Sara: Thanks for loving the list. You're wonderful.

Mark: I forgot about Johnny Utah. Another good reference for selling that name. Frankly, if the kid grows up in Utah it's probably not such a great name. But anywhere else I think it'd be great.

Not sure about the trail names idea. Mostly because I've never heard of most of those trails, so...

sallyavena said...

Directed here from Valerie's email
Watch out for's crossing the great gender divide and becoming a girls name. Why I don't know, because anything with 'son' at the end is obviously a boys name. As I emailed Valerie, Phineas was one of our top choices (she can fill you in with the story). Phil jokingly wanted Phineas Gage-you need to look him up.

M.T. Nagel said...

When I was a teenager I conceived of a cool book idea: "Letters To My Children," which would be a collection of short essays full of pithy wisdom given from father to child. The cool thing was the names of the kids could be all kinds of interesting and there could be as many as necessary. At one point, I was keeping a list of these names - for the book, mind you, not actual children. Alas, the idea fell apart over the years for lack of pithy wisdom.

I want to say loudly and clearly to the Goates (who once told us that our infant babe constituted "playing house" and that "real parenting" had not yet begun) that having a boy will introduce them to real real parenting. I think the Budges, Pypers, and the parents of the Christiansen Twins will join in that chorus. (Recognizing also the deep disparity in parental challenges the Goates have faced compared to the rest of us.)

I have had a girl name stored that I think falls into the category of "earth as inspiration" but not western: Mississippi Sky Nagel. Sara thinks it's hopelessly hokey, but she's never sat atop a grassy levee late at night...or done other things besides just sitting in that setting.

Finally, Nathan, congratulations. Your surname will not merely live on in hyphenated form. For some latently misogynistic and subconscious reason, that is important to a man.

mimi said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Wuhuu!!! Now what's this fascination with naming kids after places? It's the places that are named after people, not the other way around! And Reuben is too sandwichy for me :) I tell you, whatever you name him, he will be a great kid. Parents like you guys?! Hurray!!!

Oh and "the blooming purple petunia" HAHAHAHAHAHA

East Sylvia Street said...

congrats, and i do like reuben wilde

M.T. Nagel said...

How about Ignatius - after our hunting-capped friend from NOLA?

Anonymous said...

What happened to Rush? I distinctly remember one Goates boy swearing that would be his first born sons name. Ah the irony of growing up.

goat said...


You're right. I forgot all about that.

I still think Rush is a really great name. But, as you say, "growing up" has made that name's association rather distasteful.

I really did forget all about that...

camps said...

Would that be Rush as in "2112", or Rush as in "Limbaugh"?

Andre Michaux (a botanist) and his father are the forebears of forestry in PA, and nationally by 'trickle down'.

The Michaux's paid Joseph Rothrock to deliver regular Sunday afternoon lectures in Fairmount Park in Philly every week starting in 1877, for most of the next 14 years.

Rothrock called these talks "forestry agitation" and he planted the seeds of the way we think about forest resource conservation today. His talks are known as the "Michaux Lectures".

camps said...

Oh yeah,
Congratulations to the Goates!

BTW, Darius called this morning. His 3rd son was born early this morning.

Scott said...

I think I remember you writing about riding in the Michaux forest, but now I find it strangely coincidental that Michaux is not only the name of said forest, but Pierre Michaux was one of the early inventors/improvers of the bicycle.

camps said...

Didn't Pierre invent/improve the "pedal"?

MTN said...

Cornelius Vander Goates

Christine Xavier said...

I like Emerson.
You guys will choose well- the girls have wonderful names.
I'm so excited for you guys!

Mr. Sanderson said...

Congratulations!! That is way cool and I'm very excited for you guys! Tell your wife I said hi, and that my kids LOVED the books she sent us! I hope I'll catch up with you soon!


Anonymous said...

I want to hear Marian and Audrey's lists.

p.s. Utah is definitely a boy's name. There's Utah Phillips, a well-known folk singer and Union agitator.

Jeff Z

The McKellars said...

Wow! Exciting news! We are so happy for you guys! And great list of names!

vszmom said...

I keep tabs on you guys through Sara and Matt. Whatever name you decide on, please don't make him wait till he's two weeks old to get it (as is the Nagel custom). I will now throw in the winning name. Since the regal name of Victoria (my name) will not do, as the child IS a male, the next best name would of course be... Victor. Think of it Victor Wilde Goates. Somewhere in the young boys life someone will see his name and think AHA! THAT is what I will name my newly designed "green, earth friendly" automobile. The...VW Goates! Has a ring to it. The best to your girls. They've grown so much since Nashville. I'll be in Philly in Sept and if you're not far away, I'd love to stop by and say hi.
Vicki Zollinger (mom of Sara J Zollinger Nagel)

Chrissie Lou said...

found this blog link from an old email of vals and it was fun to reread. i like that reuby dude.