The trend of naming your kids after someone or something memorable will likely never go away, nor will the unfortunate circumstances where someone’s name is looped into a freak media sensation (sorry, Karen).
However, this will never excuse the fact that the creativity of these name jokes is equivalent to that of a sixth grader who never fails to giggle when the teacher says “duty.”
Twelve years ago, the name “Alexa” was nonexistent when I would look for it printed on a souvenir in an overpriced gift shop. But in 2015, my name steadily reached an all-time high in its popularity.
Now, when you search up its status, headlines cry that the name is dead. In one of these reports, The Atlantic’s Joe Pinsker went so far to say the name is scourged for being associated with subservience.
Thanks, Amazon. I never thought I would be a slave to corporate identity.
Pinsker (bless his soul) brought demands for the name’s abolition to Amazon’s front door, questioning the company directly on whether it is aware of this downfall as well as the potential for bullying posed for kids whose name now is forever associated with fulfilling others’ commands.
A similar effect happened in Nordic countries, where the name “Siri” was more common before Apple came along. Denmark reported only one infant being named Siri in 2020.
Thankfully, I escaped growing up with the machine’s emergence, having already begun high school by the time the public picked up on the trend. Being asked questions like “Alexa, what’s the weather like today?” was and still is a rare occurrence.
Instead, folks are almost embarrassed when a poor sap like myself with the name is introduced, often hesitantly opening with “Do you get a lot of *whispers* Amazon Alexa jokes?” Some folks even refuse to utter the corporation’s wicked title.
Arguably, not everyone is aware of the awkward interactions that can come with having a name so entangled with the societal psyche. Most of these encounters I have are with parents, which feels reminiscent of them asking about what is hip these days. Maybe they will catch on (or not), but this is a small inconvenience I can reasonably entertain.
Unfortunately, names are typically life-long sentences. Even if I and other victims are forever subjected to tiring one-liners, perhaps we can find solace in having the last hurrah, fittingly engraving the quote, “Alexa, tell me a joke,” on our tombstones.
And, to those who possess the wherewithal to sense the hesitation victims deploy the moment we hear the words, “[Popularized name]? You mean like—?” and choose not to take that cursed low-hanging fruit, the mercy is appreciated.
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