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Wed, June 19

Graham: End the tradition of naming a child Doug

Doug Graham, The Daily Courier, Copy Editor

Doug Graham, The Daily Courier, Copy Editor

This column could upset people across the state, all the way to the governor’s office, but its message must be delivered:

Doug is a terrible name.

Now, I don’t mean to anger any parents out there to whom naming a child Doug is a family rite of passage, but you need to end that horrible tradition now before any more men are saddled with a lifetime of having their name used as a punchline.

Douglas apparently is a Scottish name, from the Gaelic “dubhglas” meaning dark water, dark stream, or from the dark river. I don’t know what made that water dark, and I don’t think I want to know.

Now the name did have a short moment in the sun last century with notables such as Douglas Fairbanks (Jr. and Sr.) and Gen. Douglas MacArthur, but you will notice they all used their full name. You could get away with that back then when you had gangsters named Alphonse running around and all the men wore a hat and a suit.

Those days are gone. Now if you go by Douglas you sound like a pretentious jerk and everyone will hit you with spit wads and shove your head in a toilet, and I am talking about adults. You have to go by Doug, something our governor seems to have learned.

But things turned against Dougs somewhere down the line. We get no respect.

Nobody names anything after Doug. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a Doug Street, Doug Avenue, Doug Boulevard? Sports stadiums don’t bear the name Doug. Neither do museums. Do a Google search for American cities named Doug and you come up empty. (Arizona does include the city of Douglas over in Cochise County, but it is named after Canadian mining pioneer Dr. James Douglas, and last names don’t count.)

And would you shop at a store named for Doug? You might laugh at it, but you wouldn’t give it your money. Doug’s Hardware? You’re not going to trust those tools or even the nuts and bolts. Doug’s Used Cars? No way you are pulling off the lot in one of those vehicles. Doug’s Investment Services? Ha! You’d turn to Bernie Madoff first.

Our name is much more likely to be used in a joke. If someone wants a laugh, they draw a goofy-looking guy and name him Doug. This strategy made “Far Side” artist Gary Larson a lot of money (“Beware of Doug” ring a bell?). One thing you will find? Comedians named Doug; after having people make fun of your name all your life, you have to develop a sense of humor.

Adding to the lack of respect for our name, people can’t even spell it. It’s just four little letters, but I am sure the Dougs out there have experienced many times when the cup at the coffee place or the restaurant receipt came back with “Dug” written on it. Does that ever happen to Bill, Mark, Dave, Mike? Nope.

Being in Prescott has brought about one thing: For the first time in my life, I am working with a fellow Doug, Mr. Cook, one of our sportswriters. He is a very solid fellow and a good writer, but his mom and dad did not help his future career when they filled out the birth certificate. (With him already in the building, to avoid confusion I am called “Graham” by people in our office. I am still getting used to it.)

Now, I know what you’re saying out there: Doug, you bozo, just use your middle name if you don’t like your first name. Nope, it’s Dwight (yep, Douglas Dwight; I used to tell people I was named after two famous generals, but that’s not true; my parents were just in a cruel mood, I guess).

The good news for future babies: Nobody names their kid Doug anymore. According to the Social Security Administration, this decade Doug doesn’t show up anywhere on the list of the top baby 200 names. Maximus does. Jase does. Even Ryker (although I don’t recall even meeting a Ryker). So when I tell you no one should name their kid Doug, parents today have already figured that out.

Now, what to do about those of us who already are here? Our numbers will dwindle even more until we just fade away.

We should not go quietly into the night, however. I call for the formation of the Brotherhood of Doug. We can schedule regular meetings. Make up secret passwords and handshakes. We can all get tattoos on our arms of Doug from the Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name (don’t get me started on that guy).

We must stick together; we have enough going against us.

And Gov. Ducey, you’re welcome to sign up as a charter member.


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