A Girl Named Girl

Sept. 13 - Molli Malou turned ten weeks old on Friday, and Saturday marked the third week since her original due date. Her legal name, however, remains pige, or "girl," because the heavy machinery of the Danish government has still not seen fit to approve Molli as a name.

We requested that approval from the office of the local church in mid-August. They told us we could anticipate a response within ten days. About a month has gone by. Trine has left messages with the church office but they've elicited no response.

It may not seem like a big deal. "You're already calling the child Molli," you're saying. "What do you care how long it takes the government to approve her name?"

The answer can be found at the American consulate, where I need to fill out half a dozen forms and pay a couple of hefty processing feeds to get Molli registered as an American citizen born abroad, assign her a Social Security Number, and bag her an American passport. One of the pieces of documentation the consulate needs is the official Danish Birth Certificate, with name. The temporary certificate we have now, issued to "girl," is not acceptable. But we won't get a certificate with a name on it until the name is approved by the powers that be.

It always comes down to the miserable goddam powers that be. I hate those guys!

Somewhere in Copenhagen, deep within the bowels of some government office, some overworked clerk is sitting at a wobbly desk in front of a pile of applications. He reaches out and with his nicotine-stained fingers he snatches an application off the top of the pile and glances over it as he sips his weak, government vending-machine coffee...

Ah, yes. The Nagan case. Curious. American fellow, Danish bride, want to name their girl Molly but insist on spelling it with an "i" instead of a "y." Very curious indeed. Lovely name, Molly, but why the alternate spelling? What's this Nagan fellow up to? If we start giving in to alternate spellings we'll have American conditions in Denmark before you know it. Start seeing names like Anfernee and Moon Unit and Cher right here in Denmark. Unthinkable! And yet... well, Molli doesn't sound any different from Molly. Hm. Very, very curious. I'll come back to it. What's this next one... want to name their boy "Vaginal Yeast Andersen." Ah, there's a couple knows how to spell! Approved!

That man is being paid a salary. That man's office and supplies are being paid for with government dollars. Do you not love social democracy? Is it not grand and glorious that this man should have veto power over my daughter's name?

Apparently I'm not the only one chafing at this regulation. Over the weekend I was contacted by a journalist from the Times who's putting together a story on the whole naming law thing. If any of you have direct knowledge or experience of good naming law stories, let me know and I'll pass them along. (My email address is Greg at this domain.)

I didn't mean to get your week off to a grumbling start, though. Maybe this experiment in child abuse will lighten things up a little:

Today is the birthday of Fiona Apple (1977), Nell Carter (1948), Jacqueline Bisset (1944), Mel Torme (1925), Roald Dahl (1916), Claudette Colbert (1903), and Sherwood Anderson (1876).

Happy Monday!

2004, The Moron's Almanac™

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