The other day I saw a young woman – a college student presumably – walking along wearing a shirt that said in bold letters, “I Can’t Adult Today.” I gathered it was another one of those catchphrases that the Z-Gens (or is it Millennials?) come up with, you know, a way to express a feeling that being an adult is just plain too much trouble…at least today.
I guess it’s kind of common for those college years, the buffer between being a kid and being grown-up and responsible. You know, finding a job, getting married, figuring out budgets, paying bills and taking care of kids.
Speaking of which, the first baby born in Socorro this year was a couple of weeks ago, and it got me wondering about how parents come up with names for their new bundle of joy. One tradition is to name a child after a family member, like a grandparent or great-grandparent or aunt or uncle. In my case, I was given one of those common Biblical names, and nowhere could I find another John in my family tree. I checked.
Have you heard of this website called ancestry.com? It’s where you can see where you came from; your pedigree, as it were. You enter all the family members you know about, along with their year and place of birth, marriages, and whatever you can remember. Then it comes up with your family and relatives and possible forebearers going way back, but only so far. That is, until you send them something like $100 and a sample of your spit. That’s when they compare your DNA with the rest of, I guess, humanity. Kind of a mini-genome project.
The main thing I learned was that my ancestors on my mother’s side came to this continent in the 1640s, which is kind of fun to know, but it doesn’t make me feel any more special than the next guy. I mean, there are no famous people like royals or movie stars in there; just farmers and regular folks, although I did find that one of my great-great-great-greats had hired a strapping 14-year-old boy named Abe Lincoln to split rails for his fence in Indiana. Fancy that.
By the way, there are a mess of other genealogy sites out there like 23 And Me, Rootsweb, Wikitree, MyHeritage and a bunch more, but I don’t know if they charge or not.
Back when I was born, John happened to be the third most popular name that year, lumped in with others like James, Michael, Robert, Charles, Thomas and William. Boring, right?
Nowadays, boys’ names are more 21st-century and cool. Someone predicted boys in 2023 will be given names like Amiri, Eliam, Colter, Ozzy, Loyal, Khai, Evander, Camilo and Jiraiya.
For girls this year, the names Raya, Wrenley, Angelique, Vida, Emberlynn, Flora, Murphy, Arleth, Ocean and Oakleigh are on the rise. Or so they say.
I’m wondering in the future if we’ll start seeing names combined with numbers, like email names; John47792, for instance. Kurt Vonnegut suggested something similar in his novel “Slapstick, Or Lonesome No More!” where – in order to feel connected – every U.S. citizen was assigned a thing and number as their middle name, like Oyster-19 or Chickadee-1 or Hollyhock-13.
OK, that’s just silly, but you never know. It’s hard to keep up, so maybe we should just leave it up to the Millenials to chart society’s course. After they start adulting, so to speak.
I just thought of a couple of resolutions for this year, if there’s still time to do it this far into January. First, I will adult more in 2023. My second resolution – with adulting in mind – is to coin new verbs out of nouns or adjectives. Otherwise known as verbing, another form of neologizing. Words like gifting, journaling, texting, friending and unfriending, conferencing, actioning, rodeoing, gaslighting. They’ve all been verbed.
This is nothing new. William Shakespeare may have started it all in his barding days. For example, in his 1595 play Richard II, he writes, “Grace me no grace, nor uncle me no uncle.” Also from Richard II, “Within my mouth, you have enjailed my tongue.”
Try working that one into a conversation.
Anyhow, if you’re good at verbing, your word might just end up in the dictionary. Just don’t say something like, “I’m good at trafficking,” when boasting your driving skills lest you be suspected of selling drugs and end up enjailed.
Back to that abovementioned person with the t-shirt. I wanted to let them know being an adult is easy: You just feel tired all the time and tell people how tired you are, and they tell you how tired they are, and you talk about being tired.
In the meantime, I’m gonna’ futon myself and TV all night.