The Ultimate Geek Name?
Scanning a list of names that users recently added to Namipedia, one leapt out at me: Zaphod. Yes, as in Zaphod Beeblebrox. (If you haven't read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, now's a good time. Go ahead, I'll wait.)
Is a two-headed alien a good enough reason to keep such an unlikely name in our baby name encyclopedia? My first instinct was no, but my husband disagreed. A certain sort of person, he argued, will indeed want to learn about the name Zaphod. He works for Google, so I accept his expertise on that "certain sort of person." It made me wonder...has anyone actually named a baby in honor of Mr. Beeblebrox?
Sure enough, the U.K. is home to at least three Zaphods and even more boys with that middle name, all born since the Hitchhiker's series premiered.
This prompted a family discussion: is Zaphod the geekiest of all names? My husband questioned whether Zaphod was really any geekier than, say, Gandalf. My 10-year-old daughter, who is currently reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time, responded that Gandalf is a COOL name, thank you very much. Such is life in the Wattenberg household.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that there are many candidates for the ultimate alpha-geek name. America welcomes about a hundred baby Anakins and Neos every year, along with a couple of dozen Aslans, Enders and Atreyus. Then there's the grand new crop of video game baby names, like Fenix, Ryu and Alucard. And let's not forget Kal-El.
Yet there's something about Zaphod. It has a certain geek purity, perhaps because the original Zaphod wasn't some sleek, all-powerful force of light or darkness. He had a self-confident charm, but was voted "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe" seven times. Plus unlike Anakin, Neo and friends, his name does not follow a fashionable rhythm. Plus he had three arms.
So to me, the name Zaphod represents an apex of authentic, committed geekhood -- at least among names borne by multiple real people. I'm sure there are some fine examples I'm missing, though. Any nominees?